PillsClinical trials are research studies that test new drugs and treatments to help manage diseases. The following are benefits
and risks of clinical trials, from the Canadian Cancer Encyclopedia (2012):


  • When an experimental treatment is being studied in comparison to a standard treatment, it is possible that the participant might not receive the new treatment being tested. However, the participant will receive the best standard cancer treatment available.
  • If the new drug being studied in a clinical trial works effectively to treat or prevent cancer, the participants in the study will be the first to benefit.
  • In learning about clinical research and joining a clinical trial, a person takes an active role in a decision that affects their life. This can be personally empowering.
  • The person may benefit from the extra follow-up care provided to participants.
  • The person has a chance to help others and to improve the treatment of cancer.
  • The person has a chance to further the knowledge of early detection, screening and diagnosis, supportive care and prevention of cancer, which could lead to improved outcomes.
  • Cancer screening trials may encourage participants to continue checkups on a regular basis, which can lead to overall improved health.


  • New drugs or treatments under study are not always better than, or as good as, the standard ones.
  • There may be unexpected side effects that may be worse than those caused by standard drugs or treatments. A person is watched carefully during the study in case they have a bad reaction to the new drug or treatment.
  • Although a new drug or treatment may have benefits, it may not work for every participant (just as a standard treatment may not work for everyone).
  • Participants that get standard treatment may not benefit as much as those receiving the new one (if it is found to be more effective at treating cancer).
  • Being in a clinical trial may take extra time or be inconvenient. A person may be required to have more tests or take extra medicines.

Clinical Trials