Colorectal Cancer Clinical Trials: How to Find the Right One

Without clinical trials, therapies would not evolve to become better and more reliable. All current therapies used today are a result of colorectal cancer clinical trials. 

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Colorectal cancer clinical trials test new treatment options including drug therapy, surgery, radiation, and combination procedures. Before new drugs reach patients enrolled in clinical trials, they go through a multi-phased rigorous laboratory process called preclinical research.

There are also clinical trials that test new screening methods for early detection and prevention, clinical trials that research ways to prevent cancer recurrence, and there are even clinical trials that try to identify ways of reducing side effects of cancer treatment.

Clinical trial participation is voluntary and patients can withdraw from a trial at any time if they choose to do so. Before joining a trial, the participant must sign an informed consent. This is a detailed document with all the trial information. Patients often participate in clinical trials because they hope a new treatment will benefit them or they want to contribute to the future of medicine and help find cures. Most clinical trials require a patient to qualify or be eligible to participate, based on specific medical criteria.

Understanding Clinical Trials

If you’re wondering what makes a colorectal cancer clinical trial successful, the risks involved in trials and if some of the common myths are true, download the Clinical Trials Mini Magazine and talk it over with your doctor.

Phases of Clinical Trials

  • Phase I answers the questions:  how much, how safe, how often? This phase determines safe dosage range and identifies side effects.
  • Phase II answers the question:  does the new treatment do any good? This phase evaluates safety and effectiveness.
  • Phase III answers the question:  what’s better, the new treatment or the standard treatment? This phase confirms effectiveness, monitors side effects, and compares the new treatment to treatment currently used.

Note: Phase I trials are not often listed in large databases. Look on the websites of cancer centers near you to see what they are offering, or call their oncology department.

Clinical trials are incredibly important for developing new and better colorectal cancer treatments, screening, and prevention methods. Fund the fight for colorectal cancer clinical trials.

Finding the Right Colorectal Cancer Clinical Trials

If you’re interested in a colorectal cancer clinical trial, talk to your treatment team. They may know of a clinical trial in your area or state, or can help you find a trial that’s right for you. You can also use a clinical trial finder like the ones listed below.

Fight CRC staff and research advocates have curated and reviewed many high-impact colorectal clinical trials. With The Fight CRC Clinical Trial Finder, you can search our database for clinical trials near you that you may be eligible for. 

Questions to Ask When Considering a Clinical Trial

When discussing clinical trials with your care team, be prepared with questions to help you decide if joining a clinical trial is right for you:

  • Am I eligible for a clinical trial? If yes, do you feel that would be a good choice for me?
  • How do the possible risks and benefits of the new treatment compare with my other treatment options?
  • Are there extra procedures or visits in the trial compared with standard care?
  • Who will pay for what in the trial?
  • What is the standard treatment for someone in my situation? What do you recommend?
  • What will my treatment schedule look like?
  • What are the short- and long-term side effects of the treatment you are recommending?
  • How will my health be monitored during treatment?

Potential Risks of Clinical Trials

The nature of clinical trials means that researchers are still evaluating the effects, efficacy, and safety of new treatments in comparison to standard treatment. New treatments aren’t always better than the standard treatment available. In some situations, they may be less effective. Be aware that you may experience unexpected side effects, or side effects may be worse than the standard treatment. Patients in randomized clinical trials can’t choose their treatment, nor can their doctors. However, no patient in a colorectal cancer clinical trial will receive less than the standard of care.

Clinical Trials Mini Magazine

Download our FREE Clinical Trials Mini Magazine for more information on the clinical trial process.

Clinical trials are generally paid for by the sponsor of the trial. The standard of care treatments, like lab work, are often paid by your insurance. Some costs of clinical trials may not be covered. Check with your doctors and insurance company to see what is covered. Before joining a clinical trial, patients should also consider the additional financial and logistical challenges of travel to the trial site.

Colorectal Cancer Clinical Trial Finders

  • Fight CRC Trial Finder: A curated list powered by patients. This trial finder is a one-stop place to find and learn about high-impact colorectal cancer clinical trials. You can search for clinical trials open near you that you may be eligible for.  All trials are curated and reviewed by Fight CRC’s staff and research advocate volunteers in partnership with Dr. Tom Marsilje, a cancer scientist who fought his own battle with stage IV colorectal cancer lists all phase III and most phase II trials. The FDA requires them to be listed on this website.
  • EmergingMed lists available trials for colorectal cancer. You can also call 866-278-0392 to speak to a Clinical Trial Navigator at EmergingMed for direct assistance.
  • Smart Patients lets you search for and browse colorectal cancer clinical trials. You can also join the Smart Patients colorectal cancer community where patients and families affected by colon, rectal, or anal cancer learn from each other.
  • Antidote curates a personalized list of clinical trials for you, based on a few questions. The service is free and confidential. If you have questions about any of the trials, please contact the study coordinator listed for the trial.