Clinical Trials
Why is it Important for Natives to Learn about Clinical Trials?

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Learning about clinical trials is part of taking charge of your health care.

Clinical trials provide high-quality, up-to-date care for today’s cancer patients.

  • According to Native Survivors Network findings, Native American patients are not receiving the best care available.
  • Taking part in a clinical trial may increase your access to high quality care.
  • Native Americans may respond differently to a specific clinical treatment.
  • The provider may track your side effects more closely on a clinical trial.
  • The provider may follow up changes in your cancer more closely on a clinical trial.
  • If Native Americans are not in the trials, we don’t know if there are some unique problems for Native American patients.
  • For example, in the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial…
    • Over 13,000 women took part in it
    • 34 American Indians started in the study
    • Only 27 finished
  • Scientists do not know why the American Indian women dropped out
    • Did they have similar side effects to the non-Natives?
    • Did they have more or different side effects than the non-Natives?

These are all important questions that can only be answered if Native Americans participate in clinical trials.

What is the purpose of this "clinical trials" education?
  • To help you make informed decisions about whether or not you want to take part in a clinical trial study
  • "Informed decision" means that you understand the possible pros and cons of taking part in a clinical trial. You then make your choice based on what is right for you.
What information can I find in these "clinical trials" sessions?
  • This branch explains what a clinical trial is and identifies the different purposes of clinical trials.
  • It will also explain the "phases" of clinical trials and who may take part in them
How is the information organized in this session?
  • It begins with an introduction that describes clinical trials.
  • At the end of this introduction is a list of other topics that you are welcomed to choose among.
  • You are welcomed to choose among these topics in any order you desire.
  • You are also welcomed to look at every one of the sections, if you want to.
  • These are the topics; you may look at them in any order:
  1. Importance of clinical trials
  2. Natives' issues
  3. Different types of trials
  4. Potential benefits and drawbacks
  5. Possible barriers to taking part
  6. Eligibility criteria
  7. Types of information the researchers will collect
  8. The informed consent process
  9. Information specific to different stages of cancer
  10. Occasionally some questions are included.

    • Your answers may help you make an informed decision about taking part in a clinical trial.
    • Your answers may also help to personalize the available information for you.
Important points about a "clinical trial"
  • Designed to answer a specific scientific question
  • Conducted with people
  • Designed to find better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat cancer
Why is it important that you have a choice about taking part in a clinical trial study?
  • It may increase your ability to get high quality care
  • Natives may respond differently to a specific treatment
  • You taking part in a study may help others who go through cancer treatment


"Around here we never, um, never hear about clinical trials or things, clinical trials, things like that to me is something that happens in the big city for other people other than us."

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Clinical Trials: Native people are never told about clinical trials in rural areas

The Right to Choose

  • This doesn't mean that all trials are "right" for Natives to take part in
  • But it does mean that Natives should be provided information about existing trials
  • The Native patient can make an informed decision about whether or not to take part in a specific trial.
  • Even if you choose to take part in a study, you still need to meet the "eligibility requirements" (next section).



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