Research is a step-by-step process that involves collecting and examining information. Research into NET cancers is vital to improve our understanding of the disease and how it can be treated. Research goals include:
- Understanding what causes NETs
- Understanding how NETs form
- Formulating more effective diagnostic scans and tests
- Discovering new treatment options, and ensuring that current treatments are being implemented to provide the best therapeutic benefit
NETs are a less common form of cancer, and there are small teams of dedicated medical professionals around the world who treat patients every day. It is important that these specialists are allocated the resources to carry out research within their units, so that our understanding of this disease and how to treat it continues to grow.
Many research studies are carried out by NET specialists in their clinics. In clinical trials, patients agree to try new therapies (under careful supervision) in order to help doctors identify the best treatments with the fewest side effects.
If patients want to take part in a clinical trial, they should discuss this with their specialist, who will know whether they are eligible.
All studies are run on strict inclusion and exclusion criteria for the safety of the patients. It can be frustrating for patients to discover that they are ineligible, but no medical professional is able to influence any decisions based on these criteria.
No one should ever include a patient in a clinical trial without his or her knowledge. A doctor, nurse or other researcher will ask for permission, and they cannot enter a patient into the trial unless that patient has given his or her consent.
To help patients decide whether they want to take part, the researchers should tell them all about the study:
- what it is trying to find out
- how they will be treated
- what they will have to do.
Even after consent has been given, a patient may leave the trial without giving a reason at any time. If a patient is having a new treatment as part of a trial and then leaves the trial, he or she may not be able to continue having the new treatment. In this situation, patients would be given the appropriate standard treatment for their type of cancer.