A cure for breast cancer is something we hope for, not only for the sake of current breast cancer patients, but for our daughters, mothers, and grandmothers. It is important that you know what kind of research is done with your donations, and where that research is now.
We have made a distinction between three types of research. Research on breast cancer:
Research can be done through various methods, such as clinical trials. A clinical trial, in health care, is a comparison test of a medication or other medical treatment (a mammogram), versus a placebo, other medications or devices, or the standard medical treatment for a patient's condition.
There are 5 types of trials:
- Prevention trials: this is when the study aims to find a better way to prevent breast cancer in people who have never had the disease or to prevent the disease from returning. These approaches may include medicines, vitamins, vaccines, minerals, or lifestyle changes.
- Screening trials: testing to find a better way to detect breast cancer.
- Diagnostic trials: this is conducted to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing breast cancer.
- Treatment trials: these are experimental treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.
- Quality of Life trials: these trials explore ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for woman fighting cancer. They are also known as Supportive Care trials.
These clinical trials are designed to answer key questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective. To know more about clinical trials visit the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, a group aimed at improving the quality of life and survival of cancer patients by increasing participation in cancer clinical trials.
Women who participate in clinical trials are amongst the first to benefit if a new approach is effective. Even if a woman has no direct benefit from the clinical trial, they still make a valuable contribution by helping doctors learn more about breast cancer, and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients.
If you are interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk to your doctor. Trials are available for all stages of breast cancer. We recommend that before you sign up for a clinical trial, you read the research already completed, so you know what to expect. It may also help you to decide whether a clinical trial would be beneficial for you.
If you would like to learn more about ongoing clinical trials relating to breast cancer; we suggest you visit the National Cancer Institute's webpage. The NCI allows you to search through their database of trials (from around the world) that are accepting participants; but they also provide information on past trial results. The NCI webpage on clinical trials.