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Research is key to patient care at Sanford Cancer

By participating in research studies, our physicians can provide cutting-edge treatments and advanced care to patients in our community. Many patients at Sanford Cancer have participated in National Cancer Institute (NCI) Treatment Trials since 1977. Today, Sanford Cancer, in partnership with the NCI, is one of 30 hospital-based community cancer centers leading the rapid delivery of evidence-based research and care closer to home. This means patients have increased and improved treatment options, such as research studies, as well as better overall patient care.

WHAT is a research study?

A cancer research study (clinical trial, research trial) is a scientific research study in which patients help doctors find ways to improve standard treatments and a patients’ quality of life. Carefully conducted research studies are the fastest and safest way to find new cancer treatments and improve the health of all cancer patients. It is the last leg of new anti-cancer medicines which lead to future advances. To state it simply: Today’s standard of care was yesterday’s research study.

WHO can participate in a research study?

Anyone who meets the eligibility requirements may participate in a research study. The eligibility requirements indicate the study’s purpose and characteristics of the people who should participate. Eligibility requirements may include age, gender, health and risk factors. Patients involved in clinical research are volunteers and may change their mind or leave the study at any time. Patients are informed of all the risks and benefits of taking part in the study as well as details regarding the treatments and tests to be provided.

WHY should I participate in a research study?

Choosing to participate in a research study is an important personal decision. People who participate in clinical trials:

  • Have access to promising new treatments that may not be available to the public
  • Play an active role in their own healthcare
  • Assist researchers and physicians in finding a cure
  • Help find new treatments to improve the quality of life for everyone with cancer

Is there a chance I might receive a placebo?

No one is ever given a placebo (i.e. sugar pill) when an effective treatment is available to treat the cancer. In very rare cases, a placebo may be used when testing a new drug if there is no known effective treatment for the specific cancer type or stage. If a trial does use a placebo, patients are always informed before taking part in the trial.

What type of research studies are available:

  • Treatment trials to improve the standard of care [Christie: Can we include an example?]
  • Prevention trials to look for better ways to prevent disease
  • Diagnostic and Screening trials to find better ways to detect cancer
  • Quality of Life trials to explore ways to improve comfort and quality of life for cancer patients

Learn more about Sanford Cancer.

Posted Date: February 2011