Biobanking

Messages to other people

We invited people to give a message to others who may be thinking of taking part in biobanking. In general, they encouraged other people to participate and listed several reasons why they should: it benefits society, advances medical science, helps find cures, improves treatment, and might help people now and in the future. 
Many said that medical research is the only way to make progress in understanding health and illness. One person said that it is our “community duty”. These views were common both amongst healthy volunteers and people with a specific condition. (See also ‘Reasons for taking part – helping medical science and other people').
Several people we talked to had taken part in both clinical trials and biobanking. 
Sometimes in clinical trials of new treatments people may feel they get a direct health benefit (see our website on ‘Clinical trials’) Biobanking is rather different, because people are usually not being given a treatment so they are unlikely to benefit personally. So most people were thinking about helping future generations. 
However, a few people who had specific conditions said they just might get a personal benefit if it meant a cure could be found in their lifetime – and in any case there was nothing to lose by taking part. 
Several people saw contributing to medical research as a way of taking control back after they had been given devastating diagnoses, such as cancer or Motor Neurone Disease, which at present is incurable. Some also suggested it was a useful way to build up a good partnership with the team that was caring for them. 
People also wanted others to know how easy it is to take part, saying that it does not usually take much time, and is unlikely to do you any harm. (See David and Colin above).
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Julie urged people to take part saying, “It’s usually easier than you think it’s going to be, but it probably is more important than you could ever imagine”. (See also ‘What’s involved in taking part?’). 
While most people wanted to encourage others to participate in biobanking, some also wanted to emphasise the importance of thinking about it carefully before saying yes, and to only do it if you understand what it’s about and what it will involve. They said it is important to ask questions, read about it, talk to your family or your GP about it, and find out as much as you can. People have to make their own personal decisions. 
Another aspect of contributing to research that people wanted to highlight was the positive relationship they had with healthcare staff. This may have motivated them to take part. 

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