Questions to ask your doctor

It is important that you have a conversation with your doctor about your interest in participating in a clinical trial. Asking questions will help you make an informed choice about participating.

Tips to help you start a conversation with your doctor about clinical trials

If you are going to speak to your doctor about trials, it might help if you:

  • Take a family member or friend with you for support.
  • Plan what you would like to ask before your visit – but don’t hesitate to ask new questions while you are there!
  • Write your questions down to help you remember them when you are with the doctor.
  • Use your phone or a tape recorder to record what the doctor has said.

For more tips about how to speak with your doctor and healthcare team, you may like to watch these videos developed by Cancer Council Victoria.

Doctor at hospital

About a specific clinical trial

  • How long does the study last? How long do I need to be involved if I participate?
  • What is the purpose of this clinical trial and why is it being done?
  • Who is running this trial?
  • How many other people will be involved?
  • How is the safety of participants being checked in this trial?
  • Can you go through the participant information with me?
  • Can I have the participant information in a different language?
  • Where will I receive my care if I join this clinical trial?
  • Is this clinical trial, or any parts of this clinical trial, being run as a teletrial?
  • Will the trial use a placebo? 

How the trial will affect you

  • Who will oversee my cancer care while I’m participating? Will I need to see a different doctor if I join this clinical trial?
  • What will I have to do while on this trial?
  • What types of therapies, procedures and/or tests would I expect to have if I choose to join this clinical trial?
  • How are these different to what I would have if I didn’t join the trial? Are there any extra tests involved?
  • What are the possible benefits of joining this clinical trial?
  • What are the possible risks of joining this clinical trial?
  • Will I experience any side effects? How will they be treated?
  • Can I still have other medicines or complementary therapies?
  • Will my day-to-day life be affected? Will I need to take time off work?
  • Will I be able to talk to other people who are participating in this clinical trial?
  • Is participating in this clinical trial free, including all tests, treatment and travel costs?
  • Can I be paid back for any out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Can I still participate if I need to travel interstate or overseas?
  • If I join this clinical trial, will I miss out on other treatment opportunities?
  • How much time do I have to think about whether to join this trial? If I take time to decide, will delaying the treatment affect how well it works?

Doctor and patient

After the clinical trial

  • What will happen with the research results? How will I be told about them?
  • Will I have follow-up care through the clinical trials team?
  • If I respond to the treatment, will I still be able to get access to it after the trial is over?

Victorian Cancer Registry Victorian Government

The Victorian Cancer Trials Link is supported by the Victorian Government through the Victorian Cancer Agency.


Cancer Council Victoria would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.