How to Find Out if Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Are Right for You
Sometimes the most effective treatment is a hot-off-the-presses new drug, a state-of-the-art surgical technique, or a brand-new approach to radiation. You may be able to enroll in a breast cancer clinical trial through a cancer center or even a community hospital near you, and taking part may give you access to beneficial therapies before they're approved for general use.
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Women with metastatic cancer that has traveled to other parts of the body may find clinical trials especially appealing, as they may be willing to endure more serious risks and side effects for the chance to possibly eradicate their cancer. But other women may choose to participate as well, after running through the various scenarios with their doctors.
If you or your physician find a trial you think you might want to participate in—www.clinicaltrials.gov, www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials, and www.cancertrialshelp.org are all good sources to find current studies—spend some time talking it over in detail together, making sure you completely understand how this treatment might compare to your other options. "If your doctor feels that the two arms of treatment offered in the trial are equal [such that] you wouldn't know which one you'd want, it may work," says Edward M. Wolin, MD, a medical oncologist at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.