A Guide to Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials A Guide to Cancer Clinical Trials

How to Find the Best Cancer Clinical Trials for You

Clinical trials, by definition, are one of the last stages in the extensive process of finding a new drug or medical procedure. During this stage, researchers test new treatments on human volunteers to check how safe and effective they are, or how they stack up against existing treatments. 

While there are many paid clinical trials for healthy volunteers who want to help the scientific community and earn some money in the process, doctors sometimes offer cancer patients to participate in clinical trials, especially when the current treatment is not giving the desired results.  

Clinical Trials for Cancer Patients

Since cancer is a vicious, unpredictable disease that can attack any part of the body, researchers constantly conduct clinical trials for each cancer type, hoping to find better therapies or a cure. 

Clinical trials for cancer treatment include:

  • Studies of new drugs or combination of drugs
  • Studies focusing on new ways to use existing therapies
  • Trials of new surgical procedures
  • Radiation therapy trials
  • Studies dealing with cancer prevention and early diagnosis
  • Trials focusing on stopping cancer from coming back
  • Studies to reduce side effects and improve the life quality of cancer patients

When To Look Into Cancer Clinical Trials 

Any cancer patient can consult their doctor about finding clinical trials appropriate for them. Participation in clinical trials for cancer research can be particularly important in these situations:

  1. A patient is diagnosed with a rare or terminal cancer
  2. Current treatment comes with serious side effects
  3. Treatment that was successful has stopped working
  4. Cancer keeps coming back
  5. The patient’s condition requires long-term or lifelong treatment

Eligibility Criteria

Not every cancer clinical trial is available to every patient. Each study precisely defines the inclusion and exclusion criteria for eligibility. Researchers determine the specific requirements to ensure maximum safety. 

The most common criteria deal with:

  • Cancer type
  • Stage 
  • Previously received treatments
  • Certain lab tests
  • Other medical conditions
  • Activity levels (performance status)
  • Age
  • Sex

Find Cancer Clinical Trials With DoNotPay

Talking with your health care provider is always the best starting point, but you can be proactive and do more than typing “clinical trials near me” into your search engine. DoNotPay has created a tool that makes finding ongoing and upcoming clinical trials or medical surveys as easy as possible. 

Whether you’re a patient or a healthy volunteer, DoNotPay will help you find the best clinical trials for cancer, based on the criteria that matter to you the most. The whole process is highly customizable and easy-to-use:

  1. Set up a DoNotPay account in a web browser
  2. Select Clinical Trials after logging in
  3. Click on Get Started
  4. Adjust the search filters according to your needs
  5. Select the study 
  6. Hit Contact Now

Researchers will receive your contact details and reach out to discuss the next steps. 

DoNotPay is the only platform that allows you to search for studies based on expected compensation, distance, safety, and other preferences. You can contact as many studies as you like and bookmark the ones you plan to contact in the future. 

Our app comes with a real-time notification feature, so you can stay in the loop and get a text message whenever there’s a new study in your area. 

Phases of Cancer Medical Trials

Medical studies involve a lot of preclinical research in laboratories or testing on animals before moving to tests on willing human subjects. Before the clinical trials can begin, the research should be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the Investigational New Drug (IND) application. 

Once the FDA gives the green light for testing on humans, clinical trials generally move through these phases:


Test Group Size


  • Determining a safe dose
  • Deciding on the medicine administration method (oral, injection, etc.)
  • Observing the effects on the human body and cancer cells



  • Determining whether the new drug affects certain types of cancer
  • Further observation of effects in larger test groups

Less than 100


  • Comparing the new treatment with existing options

100-several thousand

In some cases, certain phases are combined into a single protocol to get the desired answers more quickly or involve fewer patients. 

After the third phase, researchers submit a new drug application (NDA) to the FDA for approval. If the treatment gets approved, it is made available to non-study patients, and the fourth phase of clinical trials begins. During this stage, researchers keep monitoring the treatment for long-term effects in the wider population. 

Risks and Benefits of Cancer Treatment Clinical Trials

Every medical procedure or treatment comes with some risk. Being a test subject of new therapy options increases the risk because there are many unknown factors, but it also involves multiple benefits. That’s why researchers must explain the whole process in as much detail as possible to the applicants so they can make an informed decision. 

This table might help you decide whether cancer clinical trials are a good option for you:



  • You will have access to potentially revolutionary new treatments not available outside the study
  • You might feel more in control of your health issues
  • You will receive more extensive medical care and observation 
  • You might get compensation or paid medical care during the trial
  • You might experience new negative side effects
  • You might not see the positive effects of the new treatment even if it works for others
  • You may need to travel and see your health care providers more often
  • You might have to cover additional medical expenses 

Where Else To Search for Clinical Trials

DoNotPay’s clinical trial search tool is a great resource for finding the best study for you. If you want to extend your search, make sure to consult official and reputable sources included in this list: 


Alternative Contact


National Cancer Institute (NCI)

1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)

  • Basic search by cancer type, age, and zip code
  • Advanced search options
  • Live chat support

Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP)

1-877-MED HERO

  • Search results delivered by email or regular mail
  • Free educational brochure with key questions to ask the research staff

National Institutes of Health (NIH)


  • More than 350,000 domestic and international trials
  • Search based on condition/disease, location, or other keywords

Besides these, you can check out search platforms for disease-specific listings such as:

  1. Breast Cancer Trials
  2. Melanoma Research Alliance
  3. Metastatic Prostate Cancer Project
  4. National Brain Tumor Society Clinical Trial Finder
  5. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Clinical Trial Support Center 

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