Weighing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Clinical Trials

For more information on clinical trials at Fox Chase Cancer Center, or to find a study, call

Resources and Education for Patients and their families

The Resource and Education Center

Cancer Questions?
Call 215-214-1618
or send a secure e-mail.
Connect with a cancer education specialist for answers to your
cancer-related questions.
Learn what the REC has to offer »

Physicians click here for more detailed information

Why participate in clinical trials?
Learn More »

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Fox Chase is designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Learn why this distinction is important in the level of cancer care you can expect. Read more »

Types of Cancer

Types of Cancer

Find information about cancer types and their treatments.
Read more »

What are the Benefits of Clinical Trials?

Search Clinical TrialsAlthough clinical trials offer no guarantees, physicians have a strong belief that the study drug or cancer treatment will provide benefits equal to or better than the current standard therapies.

The potential benefits of participating in a clinical trial include the following:

  • Access to promising new approaches often not available outside the clinical trial setting
  • Treatment that may be more effective than the standard approach
  • Close monitoring by a research team of doctors and other health professionals
  • Opportunity to be the first to benefit from the new method under study
  • Adding to what is known about your cancer, possibly leading to improved options in the future

What are the Possible Drawbacks?

The clinical trial process is not risk-free. Study investigators anticipate many of the side effects, but not all can be known ahead of time. Remember, most standard cancer treatments also have side effects, which can include nausea, hair loss and lowering of the blood counts. Many side effects can be managed with medication.

The possible drawbacks of participating in a clinical trial include the following:

  • New drugs or procedures under study are not always better than the standard care to which they are being compared.
  • Even if a new treatment has benefits, it may not work for you.
  • New treatments may have side effects or risks that doctors do not expect or that are worse than standard care.
  • Health insurance and managed care providers may not cover all patient care costs in a study.
  • Participants may be required to make more visits to the doctor than they would if they were not in the clinical trial.

For more information about clinical trials at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to find a study, call 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).