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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

At Erlanger Institute for Clinical Resarch, we encourage anyone who is considering a clinical trial to talk with their physician about any questions or concerns.

Not sure where to start? 

The following suggestions may give you some ideas to help guide you in your conversation or in thinking of your own questions. We also have several additional resources on our website (including FAQs) to help you understand clinical research better and what your role would be if you are eligible for one of our trials and choose to participate.

Quick Tips for Asking Your Doctor About Clinical Trials:

  • Consider taking a family member or friend along, for support and for help in asking questions or recording answers.
  • Plan ahead what to ask--but don't hesitate to ask any new questions you think of while you're there.
  • Write down your questions in advance, to make sure you remember to ask them all.
  • Write down the answers, so that you can review them whenever you want.
  • Consider bringing a tape recorder to make a taped record of what's said (even if you write down answers).

Below are some lists of questions that may be helpful to ask:

Ask about the study itself:

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
  • Who will sponsor the study?
  • Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  • How are study results and safety of participants being checked?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What will my responsibilities be if I participate?

Ask about possible risks & benefits:

  • What are my possible short-term benefits?
  • What are my possible long-term benefits?
  • What are my short-term risks, such as side effects?
  • What are my possible long-term risks?
  • What other options do people with my risk of cancer or type of cancer have?
  • How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?

Ask about participation & care:

  • What kinds of therapies, procedures and /or tests will I have during the trial?
  • Will they hurt, and if so, for how long?
  • How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have outside of the trial?
  • Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical trial?
  • Where will I have my medical care?
  • Who will be in charge of my care?

Ask about personal concerns:

  • How could being in this study affect my daily life?
  • Can I talk to other people in the study?

Ask about cost issues:

  • Will I have to pay for any part of the trial such as tests or the study drug?
  • If so, what will the charges likely be?
  • What is my health insurance likely to cover?
  • Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
  • Will there be any travel or child care costs that I need to consider while I am in the trial?