Clinical trials - cancer breakthrough?

Myths & facts


Americans can all play a role in the fight against cancer. Every day, progress is made against cancer through innovative research, the dedication of scientists and the bravery of the more than 14 million Americans living with the disease.

To celebrate these individuals, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and Genentech recently announced their latest collaboration, "Be The BreakthroughTM." Since everyone has a role in the fight against cancer, the program aims to raise awareness about the important role regular screenings and clinical trial participation play in fighting cancer.

Clinical trials are the main way new medicines for cancer are evaluated and approved for use. However, there are many misconceptions about clinical trials that impact participation, which can delay new medicines becoming available.

Myths & facts

Myth: Clinical trials are for people with no other options

Fact: Clinical trials are crucial to further our understanding of cancer and may be an option at any point after diagnosis. While 20 percent of those diagnosed with cancer are eligible for clinical trials, only 3 percent of these individuals join clinical studies.2 Additionally, about one-fifth of all clinical trials fail to enroll the minimum number of people needed to complete the study. This results in wasted resources and missed opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials that may help advance progress in the fight against cancer.3

Myth: Participants of clinical trials are being "experimented"

Fact: Clinical trials are developed with high medical and ethical standards, and participants are treated with care. Studies also offer the opportunity for people with cancer to receive investigational medicines or procedures that experts think might improve the standard treatment of certain cancers.

Myth: By participating in a clinical trial, my private information can become public

Fact: In nearly all clinical trials, patients are identified by codes so that their privacy is protected throughout. While general results of the trial may become public, a person's identity would not be disclosed without permission.

Myth: Clinical trial costs aren't covered by health insurance

Fact: Insurance companies and the study sponsor cover many costs, and financial support may be available to help with other expenses. People diagnosed with cancer should talk to their doctors to understand what costs they may be responsible for, and discuss what financial resources are available for them.

Myth: Finding a clinical trial is difficult

Fact: It doesn't have to be. is a website provided by the National Institutes of Health that people can review with their doctors to help find a study that might be right for them.

Genentech, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, launched About Clinical Trials (ACT) to help people learn about and access resources about clinical trials. The website offers guidance for people with cancer on discussing this option with their doctors and loved ones, perspectives from experts in the medical community, as well as stories from people who have participated in previous studies.

ACT also has a free and confidential Clinical Trials Matching Service. ACT specialists are available at 1-877-970-7848 with more information to help patients, their families and health care workers find cancer clinical trials most appropriate for a patient's medical and personal situation.