Should I consider enrolling in a research study?
Research helps experts to understand more about health and disease and to develop new strategies that improve people’s health. By participating in research, people like you may hold the key to better health outcomes for all.
Like other important medical decisions, many factors should be considered when deciding whether or not to participate in research. This is a very personal decision with no right or wrong answer.
Possible benefits of participation
- You will be monitored closely; and potentially more closely than you would be monitored outside of a clinical trial
- You may have access to new agents and/or cutting-edge technology
- You will be contributing to scientific knowledge that may benefit you, your family and society
- You may have access to more comprehensive care
Possible costs and risks of participation
- It may require additional time, paperwork and travel
- It may require a new health care team and facility
- You may have to submit to additional tests
- It may include the risk of new and less tested interventions
Talking with your health care team
Some patients express concern that their doctors will be disappointed if they enroll in a clinical trial that involves care at another facility. It is the role of your health care team to help you make medical decisions that are right for you. Most doctors will understand and support your decision to enroll in a research study.
It is important that you inform your doctor before and after enrolling in a study, even if she did not recommend a study to you:
- Your doctor may have important insights, questions or recommendations about your participation.
- The doctors conducting the research may wish to consult with your current doctor.
- Some studies will require you to continue follow up with your current doctor.
- You may wish to go back to the care of your current provider after your participation in the clinical trial or study ends.
Talking with your support system or peers
It may be helpful for you to discuss the clinical trial with your family, friends and caregivers to get their input in your decision. You may need their help, especially if participation involves additional time, travel or procedures. You may also wish to speak with other patients who have participated in research. You can sign up to be matched through our Peer Navigation Program or contact the study coordinator to see if there is a support group at their facility.