Exploring Clinical Trials
I recently learned of a website that helps women research available clinical trials. https://www.breastcancertrials.org/bct_nation/home.seam
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.
Women with breast cancer may consider participation in a clinical trial at various times during their treatment. There are always trials in progress that examine the value of new adjuvant treatments as well as treatments for Stage IV/metastatic disease. Many oncologists will routinely discuss these options with their patients, and we should all listen when they seem relevant. No one is ever forced to participate in a research study, and there can be good reasons to be involved or not. Do remember, however, that everything we know about treating breast cancer was learned because women before us signed up to participate. We stand on their shoulders and careful consideration of a clinical trial may be a way to secure the best possible treatment and to contribute to the future care of those women who will follow behind us.