Cure / Clinical Trials
Depending on the specific staging of a diagnosed melanoma case, doctors may suggest clinical trials. Whether or not they are appropriate depends on many factors and each has to be considered carefully.
While the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation does not offer medical advise, we can help guide you in learning more about clinical trials so you can make an informed decision.
For starters, get a copy of the National Cancer Institutes brochure If You Have Cancer, What You Should Know about Clinical Trials. You can call their cancer information service at 800-422-6237 or CLICK HERE to download this brochure in PDF format.
The subject should be discussed with a patient’s health care professional to solicit views on the pros and cons of clinical trials and general recommendations. The request for a second opinion may be useful.
Phase I Trial
Is intended to determine the maximum tolerated dose of the treatment and to define the toxicities of the treatment. A Phase I trial represents the first test of the treatment in humans and is not designed to show whether the treatment is effective.
Phase II Trial
Tests the ability of the treatment to produce tumor shrinkage.
Phase III Trial
Compares two treatments for a particular kind of cancer. Typically an experimental treatment is compared to the practice standard to determine if the new treatment produces better survival than the old one. Occasionally the objective is to demonstrate that a treatment with fewer side effects is at least as effective as the standard treatment. Patients recommended for participation in clinical trials must meet strict criteria for inclusion in study. Adhering to such criteria assures that the research finding are accurate and help to guide decisions as to how best to integrate study findings into clinical practice.
Utilizing the basic knowledge learned, in concert with medical opinions, patients may want to learn even more bofore making a final decision. For additional assistance, the National Cancer Institute’s website is recommended: http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials
Whether or not to participate is a major decision and, ultimately, only a melanoma patient can make it. At first, the decision may seem overwhelming. However, gaining greater understanding of what is involved, is essential to enable that an appropriate decision is reached.