We can’t not celebrate Health Literacy Awareness Month! It has always been one of FindMeCure’s missions to raise awareness about healthcare innovation and give patients the means to make informed decisions about their treatment in a comprehensible and down-to-earth way. We believe that knowledge is power and we would like to see empowered patient communities full of people taking their health in their own hands.  

This is why this 20th Health Literacy Awareness Month is so important for us. Not only are we committed to building a bridge between patients and the world of medical innovation but we are also passionate about translating complicated medical jargon so patients can easily understand the language of the industry. Searching for treatments in development can be daunting enough on its own without the additional barrier many patients run into – terminology. 

If you have even searched on your own for a clinical trial, you probably bumped into a lot of terms the industry uses but patients don’t understand. We understand how hard it is to seek alternative treatment and then find yourself in front of a wall of medical jargon, so we created the Glossary Of Clinical Trial Terms with you in mind. 

But wait a minute – how do you even begin searching for a clinical trial online? What do you need to know first in order to even start on the path of looking for an innovative treatment for yourself or someone you love? Everything you need to know in the beginning is in this one post we made to reassure patients that yes, they can search for a trial themselves.

So far things are looking up, you know what to look for and where to search. What is the next step when you realise that even before you really start considering which particular trial could be the right fit for you, you have to select the kind of treatment you prefer? There are 10 methods of treatment you can choose from but not all of them are self-explanatory. For example, what is a compound? What is a biologic? You’ll find all 10 methods explained on our blog.

How does the purpose of the trial affect you exactly? Can you really participate in an observational trial? How about screening – is it as the name suggests a type of trial that looks into innovative ways for early screening? If you follow our blog, you know that we like to clear confusion about clinical trials. Also called clinical research studies, they don’t just test drugs. There are clinical studies that test new medical devices, diet and lifestyle changes, new procedures and even methods for prevention. You have to know what all of those checkboxes mean to make the best choice for your health. 

If after a long search and a lot of reading you finally find the perfect trial for you and you consider enrolling, you should know your rights first. The right to give informed consent is fundamental but in order to do so, you have to equip yourself with all the knowledge you need. As you get acquainted with the protocol of the study you chose, you will probably find some terms that describe the way the trial will be conducted. It’s a good time to check with our Glossary or better yet, read all about what a randomized trial really is and what it means for the study to be “blinded”. This way you will know exactly what kind of trial you’re considering and what you can expect in terms of how the study is structured.  

By this point in your clinical trial journey, you will probably have some answers to your financial questions. If, however, you’re only now considering the costs and expenses, we have a blog post just for you in which we address the 6 cost-related questions most participants have before joining a trial. You need to figure out who covers what expenses before the trial begins. It’s standard practice that participants don’t pay for the treatment and tests as well as other related medical expenses during the trial but you may have to think about other things such as travelling, accommodation, days off work, etc.

What happens, however, if you’re in need of an innovative treatment that hasn’t been FDA approved yet but shows the potential to help you, yet you don’t meet the eligibility criteria of the clinical trial? What you can do in this case is apply for expanded access to the treatment you need. Also called compassionate use, expanded access is when an investigational drug is used outside of a clinical trial when there are patients with life-threatening diseases who can’t join the clinical trial because they don’t meet the enrollment criteria. You can learn more about it on our blog. 

If you need to dig deeper before you can give clinical trials a chance, you might want to know exactly what happens before during and after an investigational study. Our blog post about the backstage of a clinical study tells the story of how and why clinical trials happen and what kind of regulations and procedures need to be in place first. We want you to know exactly what goes on behind the scenes of a clinical trial and what role pharmaceutical companies actually play in research before you make a life-changing decision about your health. How did clinical trials even come to be in the first place? And how can we know if a drug tested on lab rats is safe to use in humans? These are questions you need to know the answer to before you take a treatment in development and we completely understand that. 

Celebrate Health Literacy Awareness Month by educating yourself about clinical research and medical innovations. We like sharing the most hopeful new discoveries in medicine on the blog and we write about promising new treatments all the time. Every drug, therapy and procedure we now have has been through a clinical trial at some point – without them, even the most simple pain-killer wouldn’t exist. 

If you consider joining a clinical trial, however, we don’t want you to go into it blindly. Gather all the information you can find and make sure you understand what medical research can and what it can’t do for you before you search for your trial.

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