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.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is recommending sweeping
changes in its breast
cancer screening guidelines.
The USPSTF, which is a group of independent health experts convened by the
Department of Health and Human Services, reviewed and commissioned research to
develop computer-simulated models comparing the expected outcomes under
different screening scenarios.
Here are the USPSTF's recommendations, based on all that work:
Routine screening of average-risk women should...
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.