When considering your treatment options for mesothelioma, clinical trials are one choice you may want to seriously consider, first and foremost. Because mesothelioma is considered a terminal cancer with no known cure, new and exploratory treatments may very well offer patients the best hope of survival, or at least improvement and increased life expectancy. While it’s certainly understandable that no one wants to be a “guinea pig” or “lab rat,” by having experimental drugs or other treatment measures tested out on their bodies, it’s important to understand that clinical trials are well regulated and closely monitored. Read on to learn more about mesothelioma clinical trials and how they may be of benefit to you or your loved one.
First, you need to know that clinical trials can be very exclusive and difficult to get into. No one should take for granted such an opportunity, as there are often long wait lists for participation in studies that offer the promise of potentially successful treatment. In the case of a terminal illness, such as mesothelioma cancer, it is not unusual to find more willing and eager participants than available positions. For this reason, patients are encouraged to express their desire to participate in any available trial to their physician as soon as possible after diagnosis.
Mesothelioma clinical trials, like all research studies conducted on human subjects, are very closely regulated through both government oversight and industry-imposed rules and requirements. The medical community, as a whole, generally seeks to reduce the probability of possible harm to human subjects whenever and in whatever way possible. While you cannot go into a study expecting that you have zero chance of developing adverse side effects – nor any guarantee of recovery – you can trust that the medical professionals conducting the study do have your health, safety and general well being as a serious and primary concern.
With that being said, you should also discuss with your doctor any potential risk or danger associated with any mesothelioma clinical trials that you are considering signing up for. Your medical team will likely do something akin to what’s sometimes called a risk-benefit assessment – meaning that the potential negatives of participation will be examined and weighed against the possible advantages. More often than not, in light of the dismal nature a mesothelioma prognosis has, the risk is determined to be well worth the possibility of successful treatment.
The current standard treatments for mesothelioma – which include surgery and chemotherapy – have been found to be effective in improving patients’ conditions at a somewhat inconsistent rate. Therefore, newer but currently unapproved alternative treatment options, accessible only through participation in mesothelioma clinical trials, may be the only hope for victims of this terrible and devastating disease. And because the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with advanced mesothelioma only spans an average of 6 to 18 months and sometimes even less, it is easy to see why many victims feel as though they truly have nothing left to lose.