Before you go into a trial, a doctor, nurse or other researcher will ask for your permission. They can’t enter you into the trial if you don’t give your written consent, after you have had plenty of time to think about it.
To help you decide whether you want to take part, the researchers should tell you:
- what the trial is trying to find out
- what the trial will involve and what you’ll have to do.
There are guidelines for researchers that explain what information people need to help them decide whether to take part in a clinical trial. But there’s a lot of discussion about how much people really want to know, and this varies from person to person.
It’s important that you have enough information to make an informed decision. You should feel able to ask any questions that will help you to make a decision. Before you decide, you should also feel that you have been given enough time to think about the trial and what it will mean to you.
Someone from your medical team will be able to answer any questions you may have. They will go through the possible benefits and risks of joining the trial. They should also discuss any other treatments that may be appropriate in your situation. You may want to talk about it with your family or friends, and think about any practical aspects, such as extra appointments and tests.
You will be given a patient information leaflet about the trial. You can take this away and read it in your own time before you are formally invited to take part.
If you decide to take part
If you decide that you want to take part, you may be asked to give your consent verbally to the person carrying out the trial, who will write it in your notes. You’ll then be asked to sign a consent form that says that you agree to take part. Your doctor will also sign the consent form. You’ll be given a copy to keep.
If you decide not to take part
If you decide not to take part in the trial, you can tell your doctor or nurse. Your decision will be respected and you don’t have to give a reason. There will be no change in the way that the hospital staff treat you, and you’ll be offered the standard treatment for your type of cancer.