Clinical Trials

Clinical trials provide the information researchers use to move cancer treatment forward. Current therapies evolved through the clinical trial process. By participating in a clinical trial, you will contribute to knowledge about cancer that can help others.

In addition, a clinical trial may help you. While it is important to realize that the major goal of clinical trials is scientific — to test new treatments — patients who take part in trials benefit by:

  • Potentially having access to an experimental drug or new cancer treatment not available outside a clinical trial.
  • Receiving medical care from a team of health professionals who follow a carefully designed protocol based on the latest known evidence about cancer care. Protocols are reviewed before and during the trial to be sure that patient safety and interests are protected.
  • Knowing they are helping other people suffering from colorectal cancer.

Find a trial for colorectal cancer.

Are there risks involved in clinical trials?

Every attempt is made to protect participants engaging in clinical trials; however, many trials are testing new drugs with unknown side effects. Even drugs that have been used for many years can cause severe or even deadly side effects. Trial procedures are reviewed by researchers and their peers, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and – in some cases – by patient advocates, the NCI and the FDA – to ensure patient safety.

However, you need to think about:

  • New treatments are not always better than the standard treatment that is currently available. In some situations they may be less effective than what already exists.
  • There may be unexpected side effects to a treatment or side effects may be worse than standard treatment.
  • Patients in randomized clinical trials cannot choose their treatment, nor can their doctors.
  • Some costs of clinical trials may not be paid. Routine medical care is usually, but not always, covered by your insurance and extra tests or scans or experimental requirements paid for by the trial. It is important to check with your insurance company to be sure they will cover routine care.
  • You may have extra out-of-pocket expenses for travel and family responsibilities.

Find a trial for colorectal cancer.

Clinical Trial Resources

Call to speak with someone about Clinical Trials 

Fight Colorectal Cancer has partnered with EmergingMed and the Colon Cancer Alliance to provide free clinical trial matching services to colorectal cancer patients, family members and caregivers for those needing to call and speak with someone. Call 866-278-0392 or search NOW.

National Cancer Institute Clinical Trials

Questions and Answers provides detailed information with links to more specific web pages to answer questions about clinical trials and clinical trial participation.

A project of the Marti Nelson Cancer Foundation, this resource provides information about the drug development process and clinical trials. They also have help with expanded access and compassionate use for patients in need of an experimental drug who don’t qualify for a clinical trial.

The National Cancer Institute

View NCI’s information about covering clinical trials costs, states that require insurance coverage for clinical trials, and Medicare policies on clinical trial coverage and more.


Medically reviewed by Dr. Richard Goldberg, The Ohio State University Medical Center, 9/18/13