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Cancer Clinical Trials
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For a very few cancers, treatment options are minimally invasive, resoundingly curative, and have very few side effects. However, most cancer patients face treatment options that are less than ideal. The odds they have been given for a chance of recurrence might be frightening. Or, the "cure rate" of treatment might be good, but the side effects (short- or long-term) might be daunting.

However, there's great hope on the horizon. Basic research on cell biology is finally yielding important clues about the nature of cancer, and these clues are leading directly to promising new treatments. Physicians are finding better ways to alleviate cancer pain and some of the toxic side effects of chemotherapy. Medical device companies are testing new ways to detect cancer in ever earlier stages. And researchers are even developing therapies that will prevent the development of cancer in people who are at risk.

Author Robert Finn, a science and medical journalist, believes that if you are not evaluating potential experimental treatments alongside the standard treatment protocols, you aren't considering all the facts you need.

"Cancer Clinical Trials is aimed at helping you consider the range of treatment options available through clinical trials -- treatments that may not be available any other way. It includes:

Reasons to consider a trial (as well as reasons to decide against one)

Structure of clinical trials and ethical guidelines

Administration of trials (and what are the interests and involvement of players such as the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, the NCI, scientists)

Inclusion and exclusion criteria for joining a trial

Reading the trial protocol

Hard questionsto ask yourself and your doctor

Interviews from researchers and patients

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Table of Contents

Foreword Preface 1. Overview of Clinical Trials 2. The Structure of Clinical Trials 3. Clinical Trial Ethics 4. How to Find Clinical Trials 5. Special Types of Trials 6. Choosing Possible Trials 7. Evaluating a Clinical Trial 8. Administration of Clinical Trials 9. Financial Issues A. Resources B. Critical Public Documents Notes

About the Author

Robert Finn graduated from the University of Chicago with an A.B. in biological sciences and intended to pursue a career as a research neuroscientist. After several years in graduate school, in the Department of Psychobiology at the University of California, Irvine, he realized that he preferred writing about science to actually doing it. Robert left with an M.S. degree to pursue a career as a science writer. For a number of years, he worked full-time at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, doing science writing for Caltech's research magazine and then for the news media, explaining scientific advances. Since 1992, Robert has been a full-time freelance writer. He has written hundreds of articles for dozens of publications, including Discover, Men's Fitness, the Los Angeles Times, and The Scientist, where he is a contributing editor. Although he has written about practically all areas of science, he specializes in biomedicine and in science policy. He estimates that he has interviewed close to 1,000 scientists, physicians, and other experts during his career. Robert has been fascinated with the drug development process and clinical trials since college. Several years ago he worked for a contract research organization, writing chapters for highly technical books intended for scientists interested in clinical trials. Cancer Clinical Trials is Robert's first book. He is now working on a book on organ transplants.

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