Cancer Clinical Trials

TRICARE covers participation in National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored Phase IEvaluates the safety of a new treatment on patients with advanced cancer not effectively treated with standard care. There are specific requirements for phase I trials. Participation may be approved on a case-by-case basis., Phase IIFocuses on learning whether a new therapy has an anticancer effect. and Phase IIICompares a promising new treatment to the standard approach. studies for all beneficiaries who are selected to participate. Coverage includes:

  • All medical care and testing needed to determine eligibility.
  • All medical care needed during the study, including:
    • Purchasing and administering approved chemotherapy agents
    • All inpatient and outpatient care
    • Diagnostic and laboratory services

What is a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are research studies that help find ways to prevent, diagnose or treat illnesses and improve health care.  When enrolled in these studies, you get care that is considered the latest medicine or therapy, but is not yet approved as standard care.

How it Works

If your doctor thinks you may benefit from a trial, he or she will:

  • Consult with a cancer clinical trial case manager (at NCI or your regional contractor)
  • Determine which, if any, phase is appropriate
  • Get pre-authorization for your participation

If you're selected, you'll have an assigned case manager to help you through the process.


TRICARE covers the costs for screening tests to determine eligibility for the clinical trial and the costs of participating in the cancer clinical trials.

  • If enrolled in a clinical trial taking place at a military hospital or clinic, all outpatient care is provided free of charge.
  • If referred to a civilian TRICARE-authorized providerAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. DS, you are responsible for the same costs as for other TRICARE-covered services.

These costs vary depending on who you are and what plan you are using. >>Learn More

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

There are many things to think about when considering enrollment in a cancer trial. Whether at risk for cancer, or recently diagnosed with cancer, you and your loved ones have many choices for care.  Here are some questions to help you get started when talking to a doctor about your options through an NCI-sponsored clinical trial.

Understanding the Study

  1. What's the purpose of the clinical trial?
  2. Why do doctors think the approach will work?
  3. How is the safety of participants being checked?
  4. How long will the clinical trial last?

Deciding on Your Participation and Care

  1. What kinds of therapies, tests or procedures will I have during the clinical trial?
  2. Who will be in charge of my care?
  3. Will I be able to see my own doctor?
  4. How could being in the study affect my daily life?
  5. Can I talk with other people who are in the study?

Determining Possible Risks and Benefits

  1. What are the short-term benefits for me?
  2. What are the long-term benefits for me?
  3. What are the short-term risks, such as side effects?
  4. What are possible long-term risks?
  5. How do the risks and benefits of this trial compare with those available through standard care?

Last Updated 3/8/2022