“Clinical trials have the potential to provide patients with access to better treatments for their disease, so, at its most basic they are something that it’s important to consider and understand.
I’ve taken part in two clinical trials at different stages of my disease. Back in 2013, treatment options were incredibly limited and the trial that I took part in gave me the greatest chance of accessing superior treatments and therefore potentially living longer.
Both times I took part in a clinical trial I asked my clinician whether there were trials available, as back then I was very reliant on the information my team gave me, as I didn’t know how to research information about clinical trials.”
Lucy, Melanoma Patient, London
“My oncologist suggested that I join a clinical trial after my immunotherapy treatment failed. I’d run out of options on the NHS, and I hoped that the trial medication would prolong my life. Taking an experimental treatment was incredibly daunting at first, but the trials team were brilliant, and I felt well supported throughout.”
Caroline, Melanoma Patient, Oxford
“Being on a drug trial for me has been hugely beneficial as it means as someone in a rare cancer group I am under the care of doctors who are familiar with my disease. In the initial stages everything was explained to me in a lot of detail and the paperwork provided listed every side effect that had been known so far, much like taking a licenced drug. If anything changes our paperwork is updated and we sign again. I also had several tests to check I was fit for the trial. I would say all my consent was extremely well informed.
I think some people worry that on a trial they would feel like a experiment rather than a person, but that has not been my experience at all and all treatment that has happened has been in my best clinical interest.
If I was eligible for another trial I would 100% consider it, as for people to be able to have a range of options and to live longer it is important that people are willing to be part of the progression of treatment.”
Victoria, Melanoma Patient, Kent
See what the melanoma community are saying about their experience of clinical trials
“Without doubt the second clinical trial that I took part in is the reason I am still alive 8+ years on. The trial itself was run incredibly well and I was generally very well looked after. I faced some challenges with the structure of the trial itself, therefore I think it’s important to make sure you have as much information as possible about the trial before you decide to take part. I think it’s important to understand it’s exact purpose and where the patient actually fits in the process, and ask yourself, do I feel that my best interest is being properly served by taking part in this trial.”
Lucy, Melanoma Patient, London
“In the last decade, outcomes for patients with melanoma have been radically transformed, thanks to a programme of clinical trials being undertaken across the world, which many UK patients have taken part in and directly benefitted from. Clinical trials are the best way to get access to state-of-the-art treatment in a safe environment. Participants are well supported and what happens to them is meticulously recorded so that we can all learn from their experience and help to make things better still for the next generation.”
Dr Corrie, Melanoma Clinician, Cambridge
I have been a melanoma clinical research nurse for 7 years, working on a variety of different trials. Clinical trials help shape the future treatments for melanoma. Thanks to clinical trials we now have excellent treatments for melanoma, but it is important that we continue to try to improve our treatments. As a patient on a clinical trial, you would be allocated a named research nurse like myself, who will be your main point of contact throughout your journey. They will co-ordinate your care and treatment schedule and can answer any questions you may have about the trial you are taking part in, and they will also support you through any side effects that you may experience.
Samantha, Melanoma Research Nurse, Manchester
For anyone who would like more in-depth information about clinical trials, please watch our video ‘Taking part in clinical trials: How Patients can make a difference‘ presented by Simon Rodwell
We also have a dedicated page explaining what a clinical trial is in detail.
Taking part in clinical trials: How Patients can make a difference