Clinical trials can sometimes get a bad rap. Many people think participating in a cancer clinical trial means you run the risk of being randomized to the placebo group and given a “sugar pill” instead of a potentially lifesaving cancer drug. 

When it comes to treating lung cancer, many families don’t want to take any chances and they rule out clinical trial participation before getting the facts. But what many people don’t realize is that sometimes participating in a clinical trial is the most appropriate treatment option and may provide a chance at the best outcome for the patient. Also, many patients say they feel participating in a clinical trial is a way to give back and pave the path for lung cancer patients who may come after them.  

Every lung cancer drug that is available today was once studied in a clinical trial. Clinical trials have been part of the medical landscape for many decades and the past century has ushered in numerous ethical advancements aimed at enhancing safety and protecting the health of the trial enrollees. Today, clinical trials are highly monitored by a team of experts. Participants in cancer clinical trials receive either the treatment being studied or the highest standard of care, not a “sugar-pill”.  

Some oncologists are highly aware of the lung cancer clinical trials available to patients, and some medical centers even have clinical trial offices that scan patient records to match them with clinical trials. However, it is beneficial for lung cancer patients to do their own research as well when exploring treatment options. 

“We encourage patients to be their own advocates and have access to clinical trial information. That is why the American Lung Association launched a clinical trials listing, to give patients additional access to clinical trials related to their lung disease,” says Chief Medical Officer at the American Lung Association, Albert Rizzo, M.D. 

The clinical trials listing on allows users to search for clinical trials based on the state they live in, disease and keyword. Because the clinical trials listed are all focused on lung disease, the listing on can make it easier for patients to find a clinical trial for which they might be candidates.   

Many lung cancer patients and caregivers spend a lot of time researching on the internet and the clinical trials listing on the American Lung Association’s website is worth a browse. If you find a trial that interests you, consult with your doctor to learn next steps. Be your own advocate for the highest standard of care and potential access to new and emerging treatments. Not only might it make a difference in your life, but it will also make a difference for many generations to come.  

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