A clinical trial is a research study designed to evaluate a therapy to treat disease. In lung cancer, clinical trials are frequently used to evaluate new medications, procedures, or alternative therapies and their ability to affect the outcome of the cancer, or improve symptoms associated with treatment.
Clinical trials frequently use a "treatment group" that receives a new therapy, and a "control group" that does not receive the treatment.
A clinical trial may offer an opportunity for patients to try a therapy that will improve survival or symptoms, but there is no guarantee, and in some cases, the treatment could be detrimental. Many patients who participate in clinical trials hope that the knowledge gained by the researchers will help physicians guide other patients in the future about the best treatment.