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Do You Have Rights in a Clinical Trial?

Have you ever wondered what it means to sign the legal “Informed Consent” papers when going through a clinical trial? If you are considering a particular treatment or procedure that is being offered through a clinical trial, you can’t receive that treatment or procedure until you’ve gone through the informed consent process.

What information is provided in the informed consent documents?

  • Information about the process of the study/trial
  • Risks and benefits of the clinical trial
  • Your rights when participating in a clinical trial
  • Why the particular treatment is being tested through a clinical trial
    • There could be more measurements or tests than normal, and this is something that you should be aware of.

What happens when I sign?

Many people have the misconception that you’re “signing away your rights.” However, the truth is that signing the Informed Consent document means you’re gaining rights and protecting yourself.

When you sign, you’re obtaining the:

  • Right to privacy
  • Right to ask questions as the clinical trial moves forward
  • Right to dropout without penalty. It’s important to understand that you can opt out at any time during the clinical trial. Reasons you might dropout include:
    • If you’re not responding well to a treatment
    • If you feel like your care quality isn’t up to standards

Informed consent is also in place for health care professionals too. This document helps health care professionals explain their patients’ rights and protections.

It’s important to note that you always have the option to go back to your health care team and say, “This isn’t for me,” and talk about other options.

For more information on informed consent, visit our Clinical Trials page and watch the video on informed Consent.

To learn more about finding and paying for a clinical trial, you can also watch our Animated Videos on Clinical Trials, available in English and Spanish.

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org