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what to Ask Your Doctor

You will probably want to talk with your doctor and the other members of your medical team about the risks and benefits of participating in a breast cancer clinical trial.

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.