For those considering participating in a breast cancer clinical trial, it is important to understand what happens after the participant is no longer in the study. The study can end for some people before its planned duration is reached, or before the study's endpoint is determined. Some participants may also be want to continue with a treatment after the study is over. All of these issues are important to review with study coordinators before beginning a clinical trial. The Informed Consent Document also provides information about leaving a study or what to expect after the study is over.
Leaving the Trial Before the Planned Study End
It is the right of the participant to leave a clinical trial for any reason at any time. Participation in a trial is voluntary and it is possible to leave before the study starts, at any time during the trial or in the follow-up period.
If a participant is receiving a treatment, it is important to consult with a physician to make sure that it is safe to stop the treatment or to get help tapering off the treatment or replacing it with a different treatment. Other things to discuss before leaving a study's end include: 1) whether health records from the study will be transferred to the participant’s physician, 2) how care will continue to be paid for after the participant leaves the study, and 3) what treatment the participant will take after leaving the study. Study subjects need to be sure to ask any important questions about leaving with the study team and with their physician.
In addition, there may be alternatives to leaving. It is important to talk to the study team to review such alternatives. For example, if a participant is moving to another location and thinks it will not be possible to attend