Clinical Trials Information
Many women being treated for breast cancer consider participating in a clinical trial. Everything that we have learned about effective treatment for breast cancer (or anything else) has been based on earlier trials and the willingness of people to enroll in a study. The first time that I had breast cancer, in 1993, I was part of a clinical trial that examined the possible added value of concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The chemoradiation part of the treatment continued for the duration of the radiation (6 weeks) and then chemotherapy continued per usual for another almost five months. It did make the first weeks of treatment more difficult, but it was manageable, and I was glad to have a chance to be part of the research that might help other women in the future.
It is extremely important that we all think about possible participation in clinical trials when it is appropriate for our particular situation. If this is something you are thinking about, you should know about this website:
It was begun by two breast cancer patients as a non-profit organization in the San Francisco area, and it rapidly gained sponsorship from other big institutions (including the Defense Dept. breast cancer research facility). The site contains an online tutorial on how to use the system, which allows you to create a detailed health history. You can either save it or go ahead and ask the system to match you to potentially-applicable clinical trials. It also gives you a list of hospitals where the trials are being conducted.