Clinical trials are the most effective means to further understanding and treatment of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Association, over 180,000 women will get breast cancer this year and over 40,000 will die from the disease. Many of these women are not even aware that they may be eligible for clinical trials that can save their lives. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are at an increased risk of getting it, there is a newly-launched website with information on clinical trials taking place across the country. Read on to find one near you.
Matching trial and patientThe University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care launched BreastCancerTrials.org this month. BreastCancerTrials.org is a free, non-profit, clinical trial matching service that provides nationwide information for individuals diagnosed with or at risk for breast cancer.
BreastCancerTrials.org is the only clinical trial matching service dedicated exclusively to breast cancer, with an online database that includes information about clinical trials taking place at more than 1,100 medical facilities across the country.
"BreastCancerTrials.org is an exciting, win-win development for the breast cancer community," says Laura Esserman, M.D., Director of the UCSF Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care and the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center.
"Every advance in our understanding and treatment of breast cancer has come from clinical trial results. The more we can empower our patients to find out about and participate in trials, the faster we will be able to complete trials, and the sooner this new knowledge will translate into better care and outcomes for all patients," she adds.
The site is an outgrowth of a successful regional pilot initiated by the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and patient advocates. The nationwide launch of BreastCancerTrials.org is made possible by a grant from The Safeway Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Safeway, Inc.
Making clinical trials easily accessibleBy making information about trials easy to find, BreastCancerTrials.org hopes to increase the number of participants in trials, making participation the norm rather than the exception utilized by only a few.
By helping patients find and evaluate trials for which they may be eligible, and by encouraging and facilitating patient enrollment in trials, BreastCancerTrials.org intends to increase the rate at which new treatments and procedures are made available to all breast cancer patients as well as those at heightened risk for developing the disease.
"I made the decision to enroll in a clinical trial because I wanted to explore all of my treatment options," says breast cancer survivor and BreastCancerTrials.org user Isabel Hemming of Los Angeles, California.
"Through BreastCancerTrials.org, it was easy to find several trials that were seeking women with the type of breast cancer that I was diagnosed with, and – after talking to my doctor – I was able to identify one that I was eligible for. I hope that my participation in the trial may one day result in improved treatment for other women like me."
Clinical trials are important for all stages of breast cancerBreastCancerTrials.org users enter a detailed health history, which matches them to clinical trials that are specific to their personal health situation. Information on whom to contact for further discussion about a trial and additional criteria for enrollment is also provided.
Individuals can use BreastCancerTrials.org on a one-time basis or store their health history on secure servers for continual matching to newly listed trials. Information stored on BreastCancerTrials.org is never sold or shared with external parties.
According to the Clinical Research Roundtable at the Institute of Medicine, very few patients are currently aware that they are eligible for participation in research studies, making recruitment challenging for trial sites.
By helping individuals evaluate trials as a routine option for care, BreastCancerTrials.org hopes to increase the rate at which new treatments and procedures are developed and made available to individuals at all stages of their disease.
Check out BreastCancerTrials.org to find out which clinical trials in which you are eligible to enroll. Your participation can help further understanding and treatment of breast cancer as well as help save lives – perhaps even your own.
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