Treatment for ovarian cancer is constantly being improved. The main way improvement happens is through clinical trials. In clinical trials, new treatments can be developed, evaluated and compared with current treatments.
What is a Clinical Trial?
A clinical trial is a carefully designed research study involving people. Each study has a specific aim, which may include finding better ways to:
- Prevent, diagnose or treat ovarian cancer
- Control symptoms and side effects of the cancer and its treatment
- Improve a woman’s quality of life during and after treatment
The main aim of clinical trials is to find out if a new treatment or procedure:
- Is safe and has side effects
- Works better than the current standard treatment
Your doctor may suggest you take part in a clinical trial, or you may ask if there is a trial you can be part of. Not every woman will be eligible for all trials. You will need to meet the guidelines for any proposed trial. If there is a trial suitable for you, speak with your healthcare team and the people close to you. Advantages of participating in a clinical trial include:
- Receiving new treatments before they are widely available
- Having your treatment very closely monitored and followed up
- Knowing your participation could improve future ovarian cancer treatments for other women
Participating in a clinical trial may also mean additional tests, paperwork and possibly side effects. Your doctor or trials nurse will discuss this with you before you decide. You can withdraw from a clinical trial and return to regular treatment at any time if you choose.
Phases of Trials
Clinical trials go through several phases (phase 1 to 4) to answer specific questions. Each of these phases tests the effectiveness and safety of the new treatment in the hope the new treatment will be better than the current standard treatment. As a new treatment progresses through each phase of the clinical trial, greater knowledge is gained about its safety and effectiveness.