Some doctors are very supportive of clinical trial participation; others may not be. If you find that your doctor is, in general, unreceptive to the idea of your entering a breast cancer clinical trial, or has concerns about your entering a specific trial, you may want to consider seeing another doctor for a second opinion.
Remember: The decision to enter — or not enter — a breast cancer clinical trial is completely up to you.
These are some of the questions you may want to ask your doctor about a trial you are interested in or that your doctor has recommended:
The Breast Cancer Trial
- What do you know about this trial?
- What should I ask the trial coordinator?
- Do you have other patients who have enrolled in this trial?
- Are there other trials besides this one that I should consider?
- What would my treatment be if I didn't enter the trial?
The Trial’s Risk and Benefits
- What are the possible short-term benefits?
- What are the possible long-term benefits?
- What side effects might I experience?
- Are there treatments to alleviate side effects?
- Are there any potential long-term risks?
- How do the potential benefits compare to other treatment options?
- How will the trial and its possible side effects affect my daily life?
The Trial’s Participation Requirements and Care
- What tests, procedures, and treatments will I have during the trial?
- How do these tests, procedures, and treatments differ from those I would have if I didn't take part in this trial?
- Where will these tests, procedures, and treatments be done?
- Will I still see you - my own doctor - on a regular basis?
- Who will monitor my care and safety?
Tips for Talking to Your Doctor
- Consider having a friend or family member with you to take notes or help ask questions.
- Consider recording the conversation so you can review the answers at a later date.
- Prepare your questions in advance, and write down your doctor's answers.
- Tell your doctor if you are having trouble understanding an explanation, description, or unfamiliar word.
You may also want to review Questions for Researchers.