Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease in men, with 1 in 6 diagnosed annually. Prostate cancer is the second most common form of the disease after skin cancer. Due to the high rate of diagnosis, prostate cancer is also one of the most widely studied forms of the disease, with countless clinical trials, or research-based studies, held in medical laboratories and research hospitals that test more effective ways to screen, diagnose, and treat prostate cancer.
Why Should I Participate In a Clinical Trial?
Despite the stage of a patient’s illness, there is likely to be a clinical trial at a nearby research facility or medical center accepting participants. A patient’s physician can refer them to the most appropriate trial for their condition.
A patient might choose to participate in a prostate cancer clinical trial for a number of reasons:
- Their physician or specialist feels a new treatment being studied might slow or improve the patient’s condition
- The patient wants to help others in similar health
- The procedure or treatment under examination may be more effective than what the patient is currently receiving
- Patients also need to understand that the treatments and procedures involved in the study are still being examined and may not necessarily be more effective than their current course of treatment.
What Is Involved in a Clinical Trial?
For every patient who agrees to participate in a clinical trial, there are many more who are reluctant to be part of these studies. Prostate cancer is a slowly spreading condition that often displays no symptoms, so a patient may not feel they need to be treated. On the contrary, clinical trials offer patients the most up-to-date, effective medications and therapies available. The treatment methods are tested at length in a closely monitored environment before any prostate cancer patients participate. Researchers are looking to measure the effectiveness of a particular treatment method, as well as any side effects that participants may develop.
The actual procedure of the clinical trial will vary depending on what aspect of the illness is being studied. The length of the trial can also vary—typically studies last from a few weeks to several months.