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Enrolling in a Clinical Trial

There are a lot of important things to think about before deciding to participate in a trial. The informed consent process and document will address some of the questions, but there may be other items to consider.  Read on to learn more about what to consider before participating in a clinical trial.

What to expect when you volunteer

A person who is considering participating in a trial should know as much as possible about the trial before agreeing to join or allowing their child to join. It is important to ask the doctors and nurses questions about the trial, the care expected while in the trial, the procedures involved, and the costs that may be associated with the trial.

Person taking note on a clipboard

Below is a list of questions that can be important to ask before deciding to participate:

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Who is going to be in the study?
  • Why do researchers believe the treatment being tested may be effective?
  • Has the treatment been tested before?
  • How do the risks, possible side effects, and potential benefits in the study compare with my/my child’s current treatment?
  • What kinds of tests and treatments are involved?
  • How might this trial affect my or my child’s daily life?
  • Will I be able to continue to work during the trial?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Will hospitalization be required?
  • Who will pay for the treatment?
  • Will I be reimbursed for expenses such as childcare, transportation, time away from work, etc.?
  • What type of long-term follow up care is part of this study?
  • How will I know that the treatment is working?
  • Who will be in charge of my care during the trial?
  • Will results of the trial be provided to me?

Determining Eligibility

All clinical trials have rules about who can and cannot participate. These rules are called “eligibility criteria” and help make sure that the participants in a trial are safe and that the trial gets the most accurate information about the treatment being researched. The criteria are based on factors such as age, gender, the type and stage of a disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions.

Clinical Trials


Screening is a process that is done to determine if a person can participate in a clinical trial. The trial doctors or nurses ask questions over the phone or in person to determine if someone can participate based on the rules of the trial. Then they might do a physical examination or other tests to make sure it is ok to participate in the clinical trial. All of the information that is collected during the screening process is confidential and safely stored where others cannot access it. This includes personal information like names, addresses, health conditions, and any test results.

Clinical Trials

Informed Consent

Informed consent is the process of learning about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate.

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