There are several types of cancer clinical trials, including treatment trials, prevention trials, screening trials, and supportive and palliative care trials. Each type of trial is designed to answer different research questions and will help researchers learn things that will help people in the future.
Most cancer clinical trials are treatment studies that involve people who have cancer. These trials test new treatments or new ways of using existing treatments. Many treatment trials require people to have their tumors tested for genetic changes first. This is to see if treatments targeting specific changes might work better for them than standard treatments.
Cancer prevention trials are studies involving healthy people. In most prevention trials, the participants either do not have cancer but are at high risk for developing the disease, or have had cancer and are at high risk for developing a new cancer. These studies look at cancer risk and ways to reduce that risk.
The goal of cancer screening trials is to test new ways to find disease early, when it may be more easily treated. An effective screening test will reduce the number of deaths from the cancer being screened.
Quality-of-life, supportive care and palliative care trials
These trials look at ways to improve the quality-of-life of cancer patients, especially those who have side effects from cancer and its treatment. They find new ways to help people cope with pain, nutrition problems, infection, nausea and vomiting, sleep disorders, depression, and other health problems.