Possibly to benefit themselves, either through a cure, longer survival, or better quality of life. Often, people want to contribute to a research effort that may help others as well.

How does a person get involved? 

Each trial has its own set of eligibility factors, such as age, disease status, and past medical history. A person's opportunity to participate in a trial also depends on whether a suitable trial is being conducted at a treatment centre accessible to them.

The oncologist ( a doctor who treats cancer) will discuss treatment options with a patient, including the best standard treatment available, and the possibility of participating in a clinical trial. If the patient is interested in participating, the oncologist or a research nurse will review with them the details of the trial.

Participation in a clinical trial is always voluntary.

Before going on a trial, a process called "informed consent" takes place.

What does informed consent mean?

Informed consent refers to the communication process that occurs to allow a patient to make an informed choice about participating in a clinical trial. The trial is explained in detail, including the treatment plan, all the possible benefits and known risks, required tests, frequency of visits, and other treatment options. The patient and family members are encouraged to ask questions and will have them answered.

A document called an "informed consent form" which contains specific required information about the trial is given to the patient and family to take home with them and consider, away from the clinical setting.

The patient signs this form in the presence of the research nurse only after they feel they completely understand it.

Further tests may have to be done to determine whether the patient is eligible to go on the trial. When the patient is found to be eligible, he or she is entered on the trial.