A clinical trial is a carefully designed research study looking at the effects of a procedure or a treatment.

It can be carried out in the following areas:

  • Screening: to find ways of detecting cancer at an earlier stage

  • Diagnosing cancer: looking at new tests or scans that detect cancer in a better way

  • Treatments:

    • treatments with new drugs or new combinations of drugs

    • other types of treatment such as radiotherapy or surgery

    • new ways of giving treatment

  • Controlling symptoms or side effects: reducing these by using new drugs or complementary therapies

  • Genetics: to help learn more about the role genes play in cancer

Clinical trials aim to find out if a new treatment or procedure:

  • Is safe
  • Has side effects
  • Works better than the treatment that is currently used
  • Helps you feel better

Below is a short film made by Cancer Research UK on clinical trials.