Dr. Peter Bach’s New York Times Health Blog today got me thinking about clinical trials. I had the dumb luck to be randomized into the most successful arm of the three-arm Herceptin trial. My normally low-key doctor was giddy w/delight when she told me the study’s results prove Herceptin is a lifesaver for people like me. That study was a major breakthrough in breast cancer treatment.
I know a lot of people are afraid of clinical trails. But it’s important to remember that randomization typically assigns patients to receive either the currently accepted course of treatment or the experimental treatment. No patient’s cancer is left untreated in the name of a ‘control’.
If your doctor recommends a trial, don’t summarily dismiss it. Ask questions and look for more information to determine your best options. My favorite resource is clinicaltrials.gov, a registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. It gives information about a trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. Also check out the blog, Cure talk It’s got loads of information including this list of current breast cancer trials:
- Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide, and Paclitaxel With or Without Bevacizumab in Treating Patients With Lymph Node-Positive or High-Risk, Lymph Node-Negative Breast Cancer
- Radiation Therapy With or Without Trastuzumab in Treating Women With Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Who Have Undergone Lumpectomy
- Bevacizumab and Paclitaxel, Paclitaxel Albumin-Stabilized Nanoparticle Formulation, or Ixabepilone in Treating Patients With Stage IIIC or Stage IV Breast Cancer
- Phase II Breast Cancer Treatment Using Weekly Carboplatin+Nab-paclitaxel Plus Trastuzumab (HER2+) or Bevacizumab (HER2-)