August 24, 2020
Clinical trials are responsible for nearly every prescribed treatment plan available today. These trials are a type of research that involves human volunteers. These studies are the primary way that researchers learn if a new treatment, like a new drug or device, is more effective and/or has less harmful side effects than the current standard treatment. These kinds of studies are vital in developing new treatments for serious diseases like cancer.
You can speak with your doctor and medical team to get a better understanding of whether you should participate in a cancer clinical trial or if you meet the eligibility criteria of a specific study.
Making the decision for you or a loved one to participate in a cancer clinical trial is a big step. It can be hard to know where to begin and how to find a trial that is right for you. If you decide to do some research on your own, you will want to know as much information about your cancer diagnosis to help with your search.
Once you have gathered information about your diagnosis, you can now begin looking at available trials online. Make sure to take a detailed look at the study protocol of every trial you are interested in. These study protocols provide a greater overview of the goals, requirements, and risks and benefits of each trial.
As you think about taking part in a clinical trial, you will face many questions on how to cover the costs of care. There are two types of costs in a clinical trial: patient care costs and research costs.
Patient care costs are associated with your cancer care, regardless of being in a clinical trial or not. Research costs are related specifically to the clinical trial such as the study drug itself.
In accordance with The Affordable Care Act, it is federal law for all health insurance plans to cover patient care costs under certain conditions. However, it is not mandatory for your health plans to cover research costs. More often than not, these research costs are paid for by the clinical trial sponsor.
If you have Medicare, it pays for many of the routine medical costs for people with cancer who are in approved clinical trials. Similarly to other insurance plans, Medicare does not cover research costs associated with the clinical trial.
If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, there are lots of questions to ask your doctor to find the best options for you. Amongst these questions, it is important to ask about the design of the clinical trial, eligibility requirements, costs, logistics, and the risks and benefits of each relevant trial.