Questions to Ask When Enrolling in a Clinical Trial

Questions to Ask When Enrolling in a Clinical Trial

Reviewed by Jasper Clinical Board

Last updated 5/24/21

Almost 300,000 clinical trials take place each year, each one with different degrees of risk. If you’re considering taking part in one, it can be helpful to consider how a trial will fit into your life and current treatment. To get you started, here are some questions you might ask. Know that it’s perfectly okay to bring a pen and paper to take notes, to record the conversation, or to bring a companion into the meeting to help you listen and gather more information. In addition, always feel free to ask for clarification on terms you don’t understand.
  1. What does the trial pay for and what does it not pay for, in terms of treatments and care?
  2. What phase trial is this(I, I/II, II, II/III, III or IV)? What does that mean for this trial?
  3. How many appointments will I be attending, beyond the usual for someone with my type of cancer?
  4. What criteria do I have to meet to participate in this trial? 
  5. Do you offer any funding to help pay for transportation, parking, or hotel lodging if I enroll?
  6. What are the known side effects of this treatment?
  7. Who should I call if I am concerned about a side effect I am experiencing?
  8. Can I have a copy of the trial consent form as well as any written documentation explaining the trial’s purpose and hoped outcomes?
  9. How do I stop participating if I no longer want to be in this trial?
  10. Can you communicate what the trial will be doing with my primary oncologist or provide me with medical records to take to my primary oncologist? (If the trial is taking place separately.)
  11. Will my insurance pay for me to participate in a clinical trial?  If so, under what circumstances? Does it have to be at an in-network clinic or hospital?  If not, will I pay more for care provided out-of-network?
  12. If I have any ethical concerns about the way the trial is run, who can I call? What is the name and contact information for the trial coordinator?

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