Getting Started with a Clinical Trial
When a cancer diagnosis is made, patients can feel many emotions: fear, anger, confusion, etc. After processing all these, patients begin to look for answers through hopeful treatment options, such as a clinical breast cancer trial. Even though the idea of a clinical trial might bring optimism and hope, the next question is, “How does a clinical trial start?”
Not knowing where to begin can be a daunting feeling. A diagnosis brings about new terminology, new procedures and scans, and new lifestyle changes. Considering something as foreign as a clinical trial might feel even more burdensome. Fortunately, there is support and guidance to help you make informed decisions.
What Are the Initial Phases of a Clinical Trial?
Each clinical breast cancer trial is unique and specific. The criteria for admittance into some trials are incredibly narrow. The initial phases of getting into a clinical trial mainly focus on these factors. There are several considerations that patients need to know and understand as they educate themselves about the process. Through the support of doctors, outside agencies, and national registries, patients can find trials to apply for.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
The first step to prepare for a clinical trial is to get organized. Most patients learn early on that they will need specific information about their diagnosis to start the process. They can start by collecting the following items.
- Specifics about diagnosis: Patients and caregivers need to make sure they have all the details when it comes to the name of the specific diagnosis, any genetic testing, and their family history.
- Scans and images: Gathering all scans and images from testing can help expedite the process of starting a clinical trial. Patients’ digital records are the most transferable and useful, but obtaining these can be challenging.
- Insurance information: Having basic information about coverage is essential. Most likely, there will need to be communication with the insurance company about the specifics of the trial. Patients should find out whom to contact in the insurance system so they can move quickly once accepted for a trial.
Overall, educating yourself about the process is one of the best ways to get prepared.
How Do I Find a Trial?
Fortunately, there are online databases for patients that can help you find a suitable clinical trial. Searching the government database, Clinical Trials, is an ideal starting point. Some patients have found alternate sources to be more beneficial when it comes to finding a clinical trial.
Geography limitations are a consideration when it comes to resources and time. Trials are a coordinated effort between many different parties, so the logistics of time and distance can be a barrier. Patients should be in constant communication with their doctor and health care team about their options throughout the process, to ensure that their access to trials isn’t inhibited by geography or resources.
When patients ask, “How does a clinical trial start?”, they are seeking help. Part of understanding the clinical trial process is understanding the implications, risks, and timelines involved. Informed consent is a vital part of the initial stages of getting started with a clinical trial. Patients should ensure that they understand all the implications of the process before, during, and after they do it.
Keep in mind that it can be particularly challenging for the patient to navigate this process themselves. Support systems are critical for patients, whether these are family, friends, or caregivers. The members of the surrounding network of care should also educate themselves on the initial phases of a clinical trial. Doing this on their own is a large burden for a patient to bear.
Organizations like Ciitizen can be a significant support too. Ciitizen helps by organizing information and informing patients about the process, their health records, and expectations for the trial. This testimonial is one of many from patients who have benefited from the care and support that Ciitizen provides. Finding community is possible for both the patient and their network of caregivers.
So, how does a clinical trial start? It starts with the hope that effective treatment and cures are available if patients know how to find them. It starts with a coordinated effort between the patient, their physician team, and their support system of family and friends. It starts by doing research and asking questions. It starts by using the wisdom of those who have gone before us to find the best possible treatment options available.
Ciitizen is a free service that helps patients get more out of their health records. Our platform enables patients to find better treatment options and gives them the opportunity to advance the research for cures.
Ready to get your medical records in order? Get started today!