Talking to your support team about joining a clinical trial

Your family and friends can offer their advice and support and help you make your final decision about whether to join a clinical trial. Start by sharing what you’ve learned about clinical trials and then be ready to answer their questions.

Timing is everything

When it comes to your health, you may want to take time to gather information, weigh options, and let it all sink in. That’s why it’s important to choose a good time to talk to your loved ones.

Find a time when you can sit face-to-face, if possible, and let them see how much their support means to you. This way you can both feel comfortable and talk openly.

Start with why you want to join a clinical trial

There’s a reason you’ve decided to explore clinical trial options. Start there. Explain your reasoning and what you hope to get out of taking part in the clinical trial.

Even if people don’t understand at first, they may remain open when they hear your own personal reasons. Be honest about the risks and benefits of taking part.

Answer their questions honestly

There may be times in a clinical trial when your caregiver will need to help you, such as to drive you to and from the trial site, look after your home if there is a hospital stay, or just come with you to a trial visit for support. This means that they would play an active role while you take part in the clinical trial. They may have questions about this.

Share our answers to common questions and your personal reasons to help them understand.

No matter which way you choose to approach your loved ones, remember that they also have their own experiences, feelings, and opinions. It’s important for you to seriously consider their advice, but deciding whether to join a clinical trial is your decision to make.


Talking to your doctor

Male doctor explaining something from a clipboard to a male patient.

Deciding whether to join a clinical trial isn’t always an easy decision. You want to make sure that you’re informed and feel comfortable with your decision.

Since your doctor knows you and your medical history, they can help you decide if taking part is the right choice. Set up a doctor visit or, as part of your next visit, share information about the trial and be ready to answer questions, such as:

  • What can you tell me about this clinical trial? Where can I get additional information?
  • What are the risks and benefits if I participate?
  • Will I be able to keep seeing you as my current doctor, or do I have to switch to the trial doctor?
  • If I have to switch, will I still be able to see you too?
  • Are there any concerns with drug interactions between this investigational treatment and the medications I’m currently taking?
  • What other options are there besides this clinical trial?

You can find answers to some of the above questions in the clinical trial listing. We have an “Understanding a clinical trial listing” guide to help you.