A need to try everything: patient participation in phase I trials
Rationale. The area of phase I trials is fraught with ethical dilemmas and controversy. Most existing research focuses on issues of human rights and the informed consent procedure. Little attention has been given to patients’ perceptions of participating in such trials.
Design. This paper describes a study using qualitative interviews and open-stem questionnaires to begin to explore patients’ own perceptions of any benefits from participating in phase I trials.
Results. Findings suggest that for some patients, phase I trials fulfil a need to try everything in their fight against cancer. The study also suggests that being on treatment allows some patients to construct their lives meaningfully by providing a supportive structure and enabling hope. Implications for nursing practice and further research are discussed.