Breast cancer is much more than just “a disease.” There are many different types which means there are many different breast cancer treatments available. Knowing which treatment to give to a patient based on the type of breast cancer is the result of decades of clinical research.
Over the years, clinical research has resulted in a set of treatments that are most likely to work for each type of breast cancer. However, every patient responds differently and the most common treatment may not work for some. Your oncologist will try other treatments as needed to get the best results. In some cases, there may be a promising new breast cancer treatment available only through a clinical trial.
Think of clinical trials as a type of treatment still in the testing phase that has shown promise in smaller test groups prior to being available to you.
Understanding Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
As mentioned, clinical trials study a new drug or combination of therapies to understand if it will produce better results than the known treatment options for a type of cancer. The new type of treatment needs to be thoroughly tested and then approved by the FDA before it is available to patients everywhere. The study results need to show that the cancer treatment is effective and safe, as well as recommend the right amount and timing of the doses.
In some cases the drug being studied in a clinical trial has already been FDA approved for treating another type of cancer. It cannot be used widely (or promoted as) a treatment for breast cancer, however, until studies have been completed. These clinical research trials are focused on receiving an FDA approval on this new use that produces better results for breast cancer patients compared to another more common treatment option.
Breast Cancer Clinical Trials in the Portland/Vancouver Areas
Compass Oncology is a part of the US Oncology Research Network. Through this affiliation we’re able to offer promising new cancer treatments through clinical trials to patients in the Portland/Vancouver areas. These trials are safe to participate in because they’re highly regulated by a set of physicians who have developed the study and determined who is eligible to participate.
Our oncologists understand the importance of clinical trials and are actively participating in the development of better and more effective cancer treatments including treatments for breast cancer. We will only suggest a clinical trial if we feel it’s the right option for you. The clinical research team at our offices in Portland and Vancouver will talk with you about the trial as a treatment option giving you more information about what is being studied and how your participation can help you and other cancer patients.
Who Should Choose to Participate in a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial?
It’s important to know that participation in any clinical trial is always on a voluntary basis. Some people prefer to stick with more established treatments, while others are open to the possibility of participating in a clinical trial. If you would be open to participating in a clinical trial, mention that to your oncologist. Not everyone is a candidate to participate, but it’s good to know if you’re open to this option.
All of the clinical trials we offer at Compass Oncology are already deemed as safe for humans. However, throughout the study, you’ll be closely monitored for side effects and to ensure that the treatment is working for you. If the treatment ends up not being a good fit, then we can identify a different treatment option for you that may have a better outcome.
Ultimately, we want to provide the best care possible and potentially discover better treatment options for our patients and cancer patients across the country. Our team of breast cancer specialists are here to help you through every step of your cancer journey. And for some, that journey will include a clinical trial.