There are numerous clinical trials, or research-based studies, looking for skin cancer patients. As with most trials, those focused on skin cancer are looking for more effective ways to screen, diagnose, and treat the various forms of the disease. The medical community is also very interested in examining new methods of after-care and quality of life for patients, as well.
Am I Eligible to Participate in a Skin Cancer Clinical Trial?
Patients with skin cancer at virtually any stage can be eligible to participate in a clinical trial. These studies examine various medications and procedures for the most common forms of skin cancer, including:
- Melanoma: One of the most common forms of skin cancer found in the skin’s pigment. Characterized by moles or other skin tags that show a change in appearance such as discoloration or growing larger in size.
- Basal cell carcinoma: A type of cancer found in the lower part of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin)
- Squamous cell carcinoma: Found in flat cells that form on the skin’s surface
- Neuroendocrine carcinoma: Found inneuroendocrine cells which release hormones in response to triggers from the nervous system
Patients in remission can also participate in a clinical trial, particularly those that examine effective treatments, preventative therapies, or quality of life following treatment. Each research team conducting the clinical trial has their own criteria for participation. A medical professional can assist patients with locating the most convenient and appropriate clinical trial for their form of skin cancer. Clinical trials are held in four stages, called phases. The research team will determine if the patient is an appropriate fit for the respective phase being studied.
What Can I Expect During a Clinical Trial?
All clinical trials look for different outcomes. Some test a new medication’s potency. Another might test the effectiveness of a new screening tool for cancer diagnosis. A patient might simply have to answer a series of questions. The research team will explain what the patient will need to do over the course of the trial. Most trials are minimally invasive and require very little of a patient’s time. For lengthier studies, the research team will often rotate different cycles of patients. Once the data is compiled, researchers will record and measure their results against their projected outcome.