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what to Ask A Researcher

When you contact a clinical trial site, take the opportunity to ask the research staff any questions you may have about the trial.

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 — and that you should know the answer to — before you decide to enroll in a breast cancer trial:

The Breast Cancer Clinical Trial

  • What is the purpose of this breast cancer trial?
  • Why do doctors think the approach may be effective?
  • Who is sponsoring this trial?
  • Who can participate in this trial?
  • What are the eligibility requirements?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Can I talk to other people in the trial?
  • What are the "results to date"?
  • How much time do I have to decide whether to enter this trial?
  • What is the long-term follow-up care?
  • What happens if I am doing well on the drug? Can I keep using it while the manufacturer seeks FDA approval?

The Trial’s Risks 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?
  • Who will review the information collected during the trial?

The Trial’s Participation Requirements and Care

  • Will I be hospitalized? If so, how often and for how long?
  • 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?
  • Who will do them?
  • What will be my responsibilities if I participate?
  • Will I still see my own doctor on a regular basis?
  • Who will monitor my care and safety?
  • What support will be available for my caregivers and me during the trial?

Trial-Related Costs

  • Will my heath insurance company cover any or all of my costs? If so, how much?
  • Will I have to pay for tests or the study drug or anything else? If so, what will the charges be?
  • Who can answer questions about what my health insurance will cover?
  • Will there be any travel costs that I will be responsible for?
  • Will there be childcare costs that I need to consider?

You may also want to review Questions for Doctors.