In this time of COVID-19, we are hearing a lot about clinical trials and their role in helping to develop a vaccine. Clinical trials are part of the process for finding and implementing safe and effective treatments for a whole range of diseases – including breast cancer.
If you are facing or fighting breast cancer, should you participate in a clinical trial? That is a question for you and your healthcare team to discuss. The answer depends on your specific situation, whether or not a trial is available in your area, and your tolerance for risk vs. reward.
Here are five reasons to consider participating in a clinical trial:
1. Clinical trials are essential to research.
All the computer models and educated guesses in the world cannot predict with 100 percent accuracy whether or not a treatment will be effective on people. Courageous volunteers are necessary to bring new and improved therapies into the world.
According to the National Cancer Institute: “Trials are used to answer many different clinical questions relevant to all aspects of health care, such as whether a treatment can prevent cancer in people at increased risk, whether a new drug can extend the lives of patients with advanced cancer, or whether specific treatment approaches can improve patients’ quality of life.” Clinical trials also test existing treatments to see if they are being utilized most effectively, as well as how end-of-life care can be improved.
2. You may benefit from innovative therapies.
Your cancer may respond well to new therapies that are not otherwise available. The trial may reveal a new, more effective treatment with less severe side effects than with current treatments. You could be on the cutting edge of a breakthrough. Is it worth the risk? Only you and your health care team can decide that. Another consideration is that a trial offering a promising new treatment may be paid for entirely by the organization conducting the research. That is not always the case, so be sure you know what you and/or your insurance company may be required to pay.
3. You will be helping others
Of course your goal for participating in a clinical trial is to defeat or diminish the effects of your own cancer. But you will also be advancing research that could help millions of others. Your
participation may even ultimately help save the lives of your own family members. Even trials that fail help steer research in a direction that may succeed. In any case, no breakthrough is possible without a diverse pool of volunteers who understand that they have an opportunity to do good for everyone.
4. You will receive a heightened level of care.
During the course of the clinical trial, you will be cared for by an attentive team who will be carefully monitoring your health, the progression of your disease, and the effectiveness of the treatment. Side effects will be mitigated immediately. Often, some of the nation’s finest doctors and researchers are involved in clinical trials.
5. You will be taking an active role in your treatment
Engaging fully in your breast cancer journey is vital to a healthy outcome. Patients actively involved in their treatment ask questions and question the answers. This is your life on the line and you are entitled to seek other opinions and search for opportunities. Your doctor may suggest a clinical trial, but you don’t have to wait. Do your own research and be assertive in your demands for the best care possible. Courtesy of the Susan G. Koman organization, here are some places to start when looking for clinical trials to discuss with your healthcare team.
Albie Aware is here for you.
Do you have questions or concerns about your care? Are you still unsure about whether a clinical trial is right for you? Contact Albie Aware at (916) 927-1592 or firstname.lastname@example.org