What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are research studies which find new ways to prevent, treat, detect and manage various diseases or types of cancers. Clinical trials provide new information and findings about the safety and effectiveness of various new approaches to attempt to eliminate or alleviate the cancer journey.
Many common practices which are used today to detect and treat breast cancer were initially used as a clinical trial. Participation in a breast cancer clinical trial may be optional if you or someone you know is at risk of breast cancer or currently has breast cancer.
Clinical trials answer important scientific questions which can lead to new research findings. Findings from past clinical trials have resulted in new and more effective drugs for specific types of cancers, drugs with fewer side effects and less invasive methods of surgery (via Canadian Cancer Society).
What are some questions I should ask when considering a clinical trial?
If you are considering taking part in a clinical trial, here are some questions to ask your doctor (via Breast Cancer Society of Canada):
- Why is this trial being done?
- What are my other options (standard treatments other studies)? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
- What kind of tests and treatments does the study involve? How often are they done?
- Will this require an extra time commitment on my part?
- How could the study affect my daily life?
- What side effects might I expect from the study treatment? (Remember that there can also be side effects from standard treatments and from the disease itself.)
It is important to have a completely transparent relationship between the patient and the practitioner when considering and/or taking part in clinical trials. For more information on breast cancer clinical trials in Canada, click here.
Clinical Trial Resources
Cancerview.ca An online network connecting Canadians to quality cancer resources. This website gives a list of clinical trials taking place around Canada.
Canadatrials.com CanadaTrials.com is a public source of information for patients, families and physicians, listing a searchable database of Clinical Research Trials that are actively enrolling patients in Canada.
Canadian Centre for Clinical Trials (CCCT) CCCT works closely with the public and the health care community to recruit qualified candidates for participation in clinical trials and scientific studies in order to test the efficacy of investigational medications and treatments.