Clinical Trials: Separating the Myths from the Facts

The medical world is no stranger to skeptics. Every new study, discovery and clinical trial has not been free of scrutiny.


But for the most part, these myths are well, just myths, but they can still affect someone’s decision to participate in a study that’s aimed at making healthcare better.



Here, we separate the myths from the facts when it comes to clinical trials:


Myth: Participating in a clinical study will put you at risk.


Fact: No breakthrough is free from risks, but clinical trials are done with a lot of safety measures in place. A trial doesn’t happen overnight. Before experts get to a clinical trial, they spend months or years creating a study design, going through several reviews and monitoring study data, all of which are overseen by authorities in the field.


You will also be fully informed of any benefits, side effects and risks to give you the choice to continue the trial or not.


Myth: Your insurance won’t pay for treatment under a clinical trial.


Fact: A lot of people think twice about participating in a clinical trial due to fear that their insurance won’t pay for treatment. But while your insurance company may not pay for the entire cost, they will still cover some of the expenses, especially with routine care procedures. Ask your insurance provider beforehand to know exactly what costs they cover.


Myth: You should only take part in a clinical trial if your cancer is already terminal and you don’t have any other treatment options.


Fact: Clinical trials are open to people at different stages of their medical conditions. Some trials are done to diagnose cancer, prevent cancer and preventing recurrence of cancer.


So while there are clinical trials that focus on cancer patients who already tried every available treatment out there, they cater to all types of patients as well.


Myth: You can’t get out of a clinical trial until it’s finished.


Fact: You always have the option to refuse further participation in a clinical trial at any time and for any reason. The organization conducting the trial will not hold you down until the end of the study.


If you decide to withdraw, a medical team will continue to monitor you for some time to make sure that you don’t experience any adverse effects as a result of the trial.


Myth: You will be given ineffective therapy during a clinical trial.


Fact: In some clinical trials, a placebo may be used as a way of controlling the placebo effect or the expectation that a treatment will work. But since placebos don’t contain any known active ingredient, they are only used mostly to test new drugs and are never used in patients with serious illnesses like cancer.



The bottom line


Clinical trials have helped the healthcare system in more ways than we can ever imagine. While they are not free of any risks, their benefits outweigh their potential side effects.


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