Major drug companies are always researching and developing new breast cancer treatments. But the treatments must be shown to be safe and effective before doctors can prescribe them. Through clinical trials, researchers test the effects of new medications on a group of volunteers with breast cancer.
Following strict guidelines and using carefully controlled conditions, researchers test these drugs for their ability to treat breast cancer, their safety, and any side effects.
WebMD senior writer Miranda Hitti interviewed breast cancer survivors as
part of a series for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The series, called "Me
& the Girls," explores the personal stories of these women after they were
diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer survivor Jennifer Mukai, 43, lives in the Seattle area. Mukai
got her first-ever mammogram in May 2009, right after turning 43. That
mammogram led to her breast cancer diagnosis.
Mammograms don't determine whether...
Some patients don't want to take part in clinical trials for fear of getting no treatment at all. This fear is misguided. People who join clinical trials receive the most effective treatments available for their condition -- the same treatments they would get at a local cancer center -- or they may get new treatments being tested. These drugs may be even more effective than the current treatment. Comparing them head to head is the only way to find out.
Rarely does a patient receive no treatment at all in a clinical trial. For example, if a patient is in a situation where the best existing treatment is no treatment at all, a clinical trial may compare a "no treatment" group with a new treatment. Everyone gets at least the treatment they would receive from their regular cancer doctor, and possibly a new one.
The following web sites offer information to help you find a breast cancer clinical trial that is right for you.
This web site, developed by the nonprofit Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, is an unbiased cancer clinical trial matching service. It lets patients search for cancer trials based on their disease and location.