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When you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you and your doctor should discuss whether or not a clinical trial is a good treatment option for you. If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial and your doctor does not discuss this option with you, ask if there may be opportunities for you to participate.

Clinical Trials Infographic


What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are medical research studies that test the safety and effectiveness of promising approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

Cancer clinical trials that test treatments might involve the use of drugs, radiation therapy, surgery or other treatment methods. Treatments are only brought to clinical trials after significant prior research shows promise. These trials are carefully conducted by doctors to ensure that patients receive the best possible treatment and care.

Some people may think they should consider a clinical trial only after they’ve exhausted standard treatment options. However, many trials are designed to test treatments for patients with newly diagnosed or early-stage lung cancer. Progress in treatments cannot happen without clinical trials, and many patients find that clinical trials offer them excellent treatment options and care.

Potential benefits of clinical trials

  • Many patients find they get more attention, care and frequent check-ups when they participate in clinical trials.
  • All patients participating in cancer clinical trials receive the best cancer treatment currently known for their type and stage of cancer.
  • Many newer treatments are only available through clinical trials.
  • By taking an active role in their care, clinical trial participants often feel empowered.
  • When you participate in a clinical trial, you’ll be investing in the future of cancer therapy for those who are diagnosed after you.

Important issues to keep in mind

  • Your clinical trial options will be based on your particular type and stage of lung cancer and your overall health. To determine which clinical trials are appropriate for you, talk to your doctor.
  • If placebos (non-active pills, injections, etc.) are used, patients usually receive them in addition to standard, proven treatments. Placebos may also be used when testing a new treatment for a particular type and stage of disease for which no standard treatments are available. All clinical trial participants are volunteers who can stop at any time they choose. If you are given an experimental treatment as part of a clinical trial, there may be unexpected side effects. An experimental treatment in a clinical trial may not be effective.
  • If you volunteer for a clinical trial, you may have additional office visits, tests, or procedures.
  • Your insurance company and/or the trial itself will pay for your care in a clinical trial. Your doctor’s office should be able to help you contact your insurance company before you start a clinical trial, and deal with any insurance issues. 
  • All clinical trials are reviewed and followed by outside experts to make sure the patients’ health and wellbeing are looked after.

Read more: Questions to ask your doctor about clinical trials.

Find a clinical trial

Free to Breathe has partnered with EmergingMed as part of the Lung Cancer Clinical Trials Call to Action to offer people with lung cancer a way to take action and be aware of all your treatment options. This free, confidential, personalized service helps you understand which lung cancer clinical trials may be an option for you.

The Clinical Trials Matching Service will help you quickly search for clinical trials that match your specific diagnosis and treatment history. We recommend that you search for clinical trial options before you begin your first treatment and again at any time you are faced with a new treatment decision. The service is free and completely confidential.

Visit the EmergingMed website or call 1-800-698-0931 for more information or to set up a profile and be matched to appropriate clinical trials in your area.

Clinical Trials FlyerOur half-page clinical trials flyer can help your patients or members of your community understand the benefits of clinical trials, and find a trial that's right for them.

Download (PDF) >
Order free print copies online >

This information is not designed to be a substitute for medical advice provided by your treatment team.
Last updated 2/2014


Learn what clinical trials are and how to access them from expert Dr. Antoinette Wozniak of Karmanos Cancer Institute. She talks about the misconceptions about clinical trials and shares resources available to patients.

Advocate and survivor Anne Marie Cerato of Lung Cancer Canada, also share her own personal experiences with a clinical trial.

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