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Lighting the Way: A Practical Guide to Clinical Trials

The future of medicine has never been so bright. Advances in treatments are being announced every day that can help eliminate illness or improve the life of patients suffering from chronic, life threatening and/or debilitating diseases. New drugs and treatment options are in development in medical facilities and laboratories across the country that have the potential to improve the health of individuals, communities and populations. These new treatments need to be studied to make sure they are safe and as effective, or more effective, than current standard treatment options.

When a person is diagnosed with a life threatening or chronic debilitating illness there are options to consider for treatment. Those options include standard of care treatment or clinical trials. NCI defines standard of care as: "In medicine, treatment that experts agree is appropriate, accepted, and widely used. Health care providers are obligated to provide patients with the standard of care. Also called best practice and standard therapy." 1 In this booklet we will discuss what clinical trials are, how to screen for a clinical trial, how to talk to your physician and family about them, insurance issues related to reimbursement, obstacles, adult vs. pediatric participation, and underrepresented populations participation in clinical trials.

Trials are another resource for ensuring access to care and/or emerging medications. There are nine chapters in Lighting the Way. There are note pages as well as a personalized Q&A (Question and Answer) section in the back of the booklet for your use. We hope after reading this booklet you will gain a better understanding of Clinical Trials and feel comfortable with making choices concerning them.

This guide is broken down into sections. Click on the links below to view each section. Enjoy your reading!

1Dictionary of cancer terms. Retrieved 5/6/2009 from