Article contributed by Toni Kay Mangskau, Clinical Trials Referral Coordinator
If you could help bring positive change to the world, would you? If you could help improve the quality of life for cancer patients, help in the discovery of successful cancer treatments or help eradicate the dreaded disease of cancer, would you seize the opportunity?
Over the years, I have heard many cancer patients and their families mention “I don’t want my kids or grandkids to ever hear the words’ ‘you have cancer’” or, “what can I do to help others, but also help myself?”
What would it take to reach the goals of preventing, successfully treating or eradicating cancer? Volunteering to participate in cancer research just might be the answer.
Each May, National Cancer Research Month is celebrated. To honor this designation, let us share more information on clinical research and how your participation can have a large impact.
What is clinical research?
Clinical research involves people who volunteer to participate in studies that lead to better ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and understand health conditions, such as cancer.
What are the types of clinical research?
What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a research study created to answer specific questions about new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Clinical trials take place in phases. For a treatment to become what is known as standard, it must first go through 2 or 3 clinical trial phases.
What about ethics and safety?
All clinical research conducted at Mayo Clinic is reviewed and approved by Mayo Clinic’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Other groups, such as specialized committees and colleagues, may also provide review of the research. Federal rules ensure clinical research is done in a safe and ethical manner.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent is the process of providing you with the key facts about a research study before you decide whether to participate. You may be asked to sign a consent form. The process of informed consent (providing additional information about the study) continues throughout the study. Your participation in research is voluntary and you may stop at any time.
What should I consider?
Consider your benefits, risks and inconveniences before enrolling; include your health care team in the decision-making. Benefits may include earlier access to new clinical approaches and regular attention from a research team. Risks of participation are different for each study and may include possible side effects. Inconveniences may include more required visits with the research team.
How can I get involved?
There are several ways to participate in clinical research at Mayo Clinic. For more information, please contact:
It is estimated less than five percent of adults diagnosed with cancer participate in clinical trials. Imagine if we could increase participation in studies so information could be learned sooner. We invite you to be part of the discovery and, in doing so, help improve the quality of life for cancer patients. Together we can work to avoid having our current generation and future generations be faced with such a dreaded disease.
Send an email to invite people you know to join the Cancer Education Center page.