Clinical Trials 

Purpose of the Clinical Trials Branch of the NACES Quality of Life Tree

Authors of the Clinical Trials Branch are Linda Krebs, RN, PhD, AOCN, FAAN with assistance from Linda Burhansstipanov, MSPH, DrPH (Cherokee Nation)

The purpose of the Clinical Trials branch is to provide you with information about clinical trials. The more you know about clinical trials, the better decisions you can make about whether or not to participate in them. By visiting the different leaves on this branch, you will be able to answer questions like:

  • What is a clinical trial?
  • What is the importance of clinical trials?
  • Should I participate in a clinical trial? (Making an Informed Decision)
  • What are some cultural issues that can come up when participating in clinical trials?
  • What are some examples of clinical trials I might be able to participate in?
  • How do I find out more about clinical trials?

What is a Clinical Trial?

  • A clinical trial is a special kind of scientific study that is:
    • Designed to answer a specific scientific question
    • Always done with people as participants
    • Designed to find better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases
  • There many different kinds of clinical trials. This section will focus on cancer clinical trials that are designed to find better ways of diagnose, prevent, find or treat cancer
  • They may also look for better ways to support the cancer patient and family
  • These studies are to learn if the new ways are better than the ways that are used now (more effective, fewer side effects)

Not everyone can take part in a clinical trial study

  • You have to meet the "eligibility" rules (such as the size of your tumor, other health conditions)
  • Not everyone should take part in a clinical trial study
  • Not every trial is the right choice for you personally (may be due to cultural or other reasons)
    • But, American Indian / Alaska Native patients need to be informed of clinical trials' options so that they can make an informed choice about taking part if they are eligible
  • Most of the people who take part in clinical trials are
    • College educated
    • Middle class or wealthy
    • White and 
    • Almost all have private insurance
  • American Indian / Alaska Native patients, other minorities and poor people are less likely to receive information about clinic trials
  • An accusation NACR staff have heard repeatedly from community members, "Do providers know of proven cancer cures but don't share it with the public?"
    • The answer is "no." Most providers who work in cancer care have family members with cancer. Providers are as anxious as anyone else for cures to all cancers to be found.