Questions to Ask Your Care Team

Clinical trials are not the best option for everyone, but it is important for women with ovarian cancer to know all the choices available to them in deciding on the appropriate care and treatment.

Many patients and organizations, including the National Cancer Institute, suggest the following tips when asking your doctor questions.  These are not just for questions about clinical trials, but can be useful for organizing all kinds of information in discussions with your doctor.

Questions to ask yourself when considering a clinical trial:

  • Why do I want to participate?
  • What do I expect to get from the trial?
  • What may happen to me if I do or don’t participate?
  • Do I understand the risks and benefits?
  • Do I have the time and resources to participate?

Questions to ask your doctor when considering a clinical trial:

  • Is the trial still enrolling people?
  • Am I eligible for the trial?
  • Why do researchers think this new treatment may be effective?
  • What are the potential risks and benefits the treatment may have?
  • Who will watch over my care and safety?
  • Can I get a copy of the trial’s protocol?
  • Can I get a copy of the informed consent form?
  • Is there a chance I will receive a placebo?
  • Is the trial randomized?
  • What is the dose and schedule of treatments of the trial?
  • What costs will I or my insurer have to pay?
  • If I have to travel, who will pay for travel and lodging?
  • Will the trial require more time than standard care, and a possible hospital stay?
  • How will participating in the trial affect my daily life?

You should be aware of the risks and benefits of participating in clinical trials. Learn as much as you can about clinical trials and the clinical trial you might want to enroll in before you decide to participate. Even when you are first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you might want to consider a clinical trial. Clinical trials are not only the last resort.

Benefits of clinical trials:

  • Might help someone with ovarian cancer in the future
  • You may get a new treatment that works better than a current treatment
  • You may feel empowered about taking control of your health care
  • You will probably get specialized care from the health care team monitoring you during the trial

Risks of clinical trials:

  • New treatment may have side effects
  • The new treatment may not work for you, though it may work for others
  • The inconvenience of extra visits to the doctor may be burdensome
  • You don’t have a choice in getting the experimental vs. the traditional treatment
  • Insurance might not cover all the costs

What medical information about ovarian cancer do I need before enrolling in a clinical trial?

Before you enroll in a clinical trial you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your health. The questions will ask for a range of information including: your age, menopausal status, your daily activity, the extent of cancer metastasis, the ovarian cancer stage and type, the operability of a metastatic cancer , your CA-125 levels, where you are in treatment, when you had the most recent surgery, when you had the most recent chemotherapy, what drugs you received for chemotherapy, other medical conditions besides cancer, how many different chemotherapy regimens have you undergone, and where you live to find a trial.

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