Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center in Mount Vernon and Arlington, WA

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are an essential part of research as new drugs and treatments are developed in the fight against cancer. Cancer trials usually compare existing treatments to something thought to be better, so cancer patients always receive at least the best treatment currently available.

Patients seeking treatment at the Regional Cancer Care Center are screened by our clinical trials nurse for enrollment into any appropriate and available trial.


What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a medical research study in which participants volunteer to test new methods to prevent, screen, diagnose, or treat a disease. A clinical trial is also called clinical study or a protocol. All of today’s recognized cancer treatments were proven by clinical trials.

What are the phases of a cancer clinical trial?
Cancer clinical trials have four steps, called “phases.”  Each one answers a separate research question.

  •     Phase I trials evaluate safety.
  •     Phase II trials measure effectiveness.
  •     Phase III trials test against the best existing treatment.
  •     Phase IV trials evaluate new uses or long-term effects of the treatment.


What is a "randomized" clinical trial?
In a randomized clinical trial, the participants are assigned by chance to the standard treatment group (control group) or investigational treatment arm.  In cancer clinical trials, the control group receives the standard treatment that is currently available.

What is standard therapy?
Standard therapy is a treatment that experts agree is the best practice or best standard of care.

What is the difference between "standard therapy" and "experimental therapy" in a clinical trial?
In medicine, standard therapy is the treatment that experts agree is the standard of care or best practice. In clinical trials, experimental therapy refers to a drug (a new drug, new dose, in combination with other drugs, or a way of giving a drug) or a procedure that has gone through basic lab testing and received approval from the FDA to be tested on human subjects.


Trusted Links:

Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
http://www.cancertrialshelp.org

National Cancer Institute
http://www.cancer.gov/

SWOG (a cancer clinical trial cooperative)
http://www.swog.org/

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
http://www.seattlecca.org/

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