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Is a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Right for You?

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Who Can Participate?

Each breast cancer clinical trial enrolls patients with certain conditions and symptoms. If you fit the guidelines for a trial, you may be able to participate. Screening tests are used to confirm eligibility.

What Are the Advantages of Participating?

You could get a potential treatment before it is widely available to the public. The treatment being studied may be more effective than the standard treatments.

You can provide researchers with the information they need to continue developing new procedures and introducing new treatment methods.

Your treatment costs may be less, since many of the tests and doctor visits that are directly related to the clinical trial are paid for by the company or agency sponsoring the study. Be sure to discuss treatment costs with the doctors and nurses running the clinical trial.

What Are the Disadvantages?

Usually, not all of the risks and side effects of the new treatment are known at the beginning of the clinical trial. Most treatments have potential side effects. Patients are informed of any known possible side effects before they join a clinical trial. They're also informed of any "new" side effects that have become known while they are participating in the trial.

If you participate, you may not receive the new treatment being studied. Many breastcancer clinical trials combine a new treatment with a current one, and compare that combination to the current treatment alone. Participants are randomly assigned to receive either the new combination or the usual treatment. This will be explained to you before you decide to take part.

The new treatment may not work for you, even if it helps others.

Insurers don't always cover all of the costs associated with taking part in a clinical trial. Talk to your insurance provider before you decide to participate.

There may be inconveniences, such as more frequent testing, more time at the doctor's office, and travel commitments.

Is It Safe to Be Part of a Study?

All breast cancer patients face a new world of medical terms and procedures. Fears and myths of "experimentation" or "being a guinea pig" are common concerns. Understanding what's involved may help you feel better about it.

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