Benefits of Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Participation

While there is no question that without mesothelioma clinical trials the development of new procedures and medicines would come to a virtual standstill. However, this may not be of much concern to a newly diagnosed mesothelioma patient facing a prognosis of a short median survival time.

It is true that clinical trials are somewhat altruistic, i.e. they benefit your fellow man, the next victim of mesothelioma, but this shouldn't be the primary motivation for participating in trials. With almost no "standard" treatments for mesothelioma in the medical kit bag, mesothelioma clinical trials are often the most effective and sometimes the only way a new patient can access state-of-the-art treatments.

Hopefully in ten or twenty years, many of the effective clinical trials of today will have become standard therapy. Clinical trials in that setting may not be as appealing to mesothelioma patients who have valid treatment options that offer a chance for a cure. However, as in many cancers, patients will always come along who won't respond to current treatments, were diagnosed at late stage, or who want less aggressive treatment than some of the surgery being performed today. For those patients a clinical trial will always be an attractive choice.

Deciding on Whether a Mesothelioma Clinical Trial is Right For You

Choosing a mesothelioma clinical trial is a personal decision that should be made with the advice and counsel of your doctor and your family. Clinical trials have saved many lives and are currently the reason there is a growing population of mesothelioma survivors to point to. Before making the decision it is wise to ask questions and to fully understand the risks before signing the informed consent form.

A clinical trial shouldn't be entered into lightly. There are certain questions you need to ask in order to make an informed decision. This will not only help you select the mesothelioma treatment option that is right for you, it will also help you prepare and make arrangements.

Questions to ask include:

  • What is the purpose of the trial?
  • What tests and treatments will be used?
  • What is the track record, if any, of the experimental treatment?
  • What are the benefits, risks and side-effects in contrast to other treatment choices?
  • What steps will be taken to monitor safety and who will be responsible for actions in the event of a problem?
  • How long will the trial take and how long will I need to participate?
  • Can I opt out of the trial and under what conditions?
  • Who will conduct the trial and what are their credentials?
  • What portion of the trial is subsidized and by whom?
  • What drugs will be used during the clinical trial? Are these covered by the study?
  • What portion of my treatment will my insurance cover and how much will I be responsible for?

To learn more about clinical trials for mesothelioma patients, including risks, benefits, eligibility, and treatment options, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is here to help. For clinical trial referrals, please contact the Mesothelioma Foundation's Medical Liaison:

Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner

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