There is no cure for mesothelioma yet, but there are numerous treatment options to relieve symptoms and extend a person’s life. And these options continue to expand and improve, thanks in part to clinical trials.
Clinical trials are crucial in identifying safe and effective treatments and medications, and participating in them can be an attractive option for mesothelioma patients. However, parties should understand whether clinical trial participation is possible – and wise.
Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Clinical trials have specific traits they want and do not want in a particular study. Those they are looking for are inclusion criteria; those that they do not want are exclusion criteria.
Every study has different criteria based on the type of research and the protocol. For instance, in a mesothelioma trial, possible inclusion criteria might include:
- A diagnosis with a specific subtype of mesothelioma
- Certain ages
- Being physically fit for surgery
- Being a male or female
- Having or not having other health issues
- Appropriate treatment history
These same factors could also exclude a person from being a participant in a specific trial. Other examples of what might make someone ineligible include:
- Health complications, like heart disease or shortness of breath
- Lacking the capacity to consent to medical treatments
- Participating in another trial simultaneously
- Not meeting life expectancy requirements
These factors can skew results or make the research dangerous or less effective.
Exploring your options
Clinical trial participation can have several benefits, including:
- Receiving potentially effective care before others do
- Getting more frequent check-ups
- Helping improve mesothelioma treatments for others
- Developing connections with others in similar situations
If you are interested in clinical trials, you can visit sites like Clinicaltrials.gov and search for open or upcoming studies.
However, before you decide on medical treatments – especially those still in the testing and research stages – talking to your doctor is vital. Participation in a trial could come with risks, including:
- Compromised efficacy of current treatments
- Painful side effects
- Being time-consuming and inconvenient to participate
- Ending up without treatment as part of a control or placebo group
Whether these drawbacks outweigh the potential benefits is a decision each person must make for themselves with the help of their doctors.