Clinical Trials

Before a treatment regimen can become standard, it must go through a clinical trial. Clinical trials test if a potential treatment is safe and effective in humans. Clinical trials go through a series of phases, starting with a smaller group of patients and expanding to a much larger group. The video below explains the three main phases of a clinical trial.

Benefits and Risks

For some patients, a clinical trial may be the best treatment option, but any patient should carefully measure the risks and benefits involved. It’s important to understand what a clinical trial is, what your rights are as a patient, and what the risks and benefits are before making a decision. The National Institutes of Health, lists the following benefits and risks of trial participation:


  • Play an active role in your own health care.
  • Gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
  • Obtain expert medical care at leading health care facilities during the trial.


  • There may be unpleasant, serious or even life-threatening side effects to experimental treatment.
  • The experimental treatment may not be effective for the participant.
  • The protocol may require more of their time and attention than would a non-protocol treatment, including trips to the study site, more treatments, hospital stays or complex dosage requirements.

Before entering a clinical trial, a patient will go through the process of informed consent where they are informed of the risks and benefits specific to that trial, as well as complete details of all the tests, treatments, and procedures involved. The patient will also learn about their rights, including the right to withdraw at any time.

Cervical Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are not limited to new cervical cancer treatment options—researchers are also looking at cervical cancer prevention, diagnosis, palliative care (support and symptom management), as well as psychosocial issues related to cancer., a service of the National Institutes of Health, offers an extensive list of clinical trials as well as detailed information on the trial, including criteria for patients to qualify.

Additional Resources

  • Information on clinical trials, including a search tool and live chat line, from the National Cancer Institute
  • Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. This booklet book explains cancer treatment clinical trials and gives you some things to think about when deciding whether to take part.
  • MedlinePlus, from the US National Library of Medicine, offers an overview of clinical trials along with a load of links to more information