Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
Breast cancer clinical trials help doctors and scientists look for better ways to treat and screen for breast cancer. Clinical trials are carefully designed research studies that utilize volunteers to find new treatments, study different combinations of treatments, and research new approaches to treatments like radiation therapy or surgery. Participants of clinical trials often get access to the treatments being studied years before the public.
Reasons for participating in clinical trials differ between patients. Some people find that the clinical trial is the best treatment option available to them, while others want to help contribute to finding a better way to treat others with cancer like theirs while improving cancer research overall. Those interested in participating in a clinical trial should talk to their cancer care team to decide if it is the right option for them.
Breast Cancer Treatment Options
There are multiple options for patients to treat breast cancer depending on their histology, stage, and overall health status. Treatments available for breast cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy. There are different therapies specifically targeted for each type of breast cancer treatment:
- Surgery: lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstructive breast surgery
- Radiation therapy: external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), brachytherapy
- Chemotherapy: single or combination of drugs
- Hormonal therapy: Tamoxifen, Fulvestrant, Aromatase inhibitors, or ovarian suppression
- Targeted therapy: HER-2 targeted therapies, hormone receptor targeted therapies, and enzyme targeted therapies
Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Concerns
Some people stray away from clinical trials because they are worried that they could be given a placebo treatment, rather than the actual treatment. It is important that patients know that most breast cancer clinical trials use the new treatment or the standard treatment, so even if a patient does not get the new treatment, they would still receive the standard of care. If a placebo is in a study, patients are notified by the start of the trial.
Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Available
There are about 1,000 clinical trials for breast cancer available to enroll in within the United States and there are tools and resources to assist in finding a clinical trial for breast cancer. Patients should talk to their cancer care team to learn more.