Browser does not support script.
Skip to main content
Find out how we produce our information|
Cancer research trials| are carried out to try to find new and better treatments for cancer.
Trials that are carried out on patients are known as clinical trials. These may be carried out to:
Trials are the only reliable way to find out if a different type of surgery|, chemotherapy|, radiotherapy| or other treatment is better than what’s already available.
You may be asked to take part in a treatment research trial, and there can be many benefits in doing this. Trials help to improve knowledge about cancer and develop new treatments.
You will be carefully monitored during and after the study. Usually, several hospitals around the country take part in these trials. It’s important to bear in mind that some treatments that look promising at first are often later found to be less effective than existing treatments or to have side effects that outweigh the benefits.
If you decide not to take part in a trial, your decision will be respected and you won’t have to give a reason. There will be no change in the way you are treated by the hospital staff and you’ll be offered the standard treatment for your situation.
Blood and tumour samples may be taken to help make the right diagnosis. You may be asked for your permission to use some of your samples for research into cancer. If you take part in a trial you may also give other samples, which may be frozen and stored for future use when new research techniques become available. Your name will be removed from the samples so you can’t be identified.
The research may be carried out at the hospital where you are treated, or at another one. This type of research takes a long time, and results may not be available for many years. The samples will be used to increase knowledge about the causes of cancer and its treatment, which will hopefully improve the outlook for future patients.
Some current research trials for women with cervical cancer are looking at the side effects of internal radiotherapy treatments and ways to improve external radiotherapy. Other trials are looking at different combinations of chemotherapy treatments and newer drug treatments for advanced cancer.
Your hospital team will be able to let you know about any trials that may be suitable for you.
Content last reviewed: 1 April 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
what are these?|