Each year medical researchers develop new cancer treatments, or find new ways to use existing treatments. The goals of cancer therapy, in order of importance are: 1) highly effective, hopefully curative therapy, 2) infrequent side effects and minimal toxicity to normal body functions, 3) patient convenience and affordable treatment.
Clinical trials are the pathways to develop and evaluate more effective and less toxic therapies. New treatments are tested in a series of trials known as Phase I, Phase II and Phase III trials. New cancer therapeutic agents are evaluated and approved by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) only after the Phase III clinical trials have demonstrated evidence of superior outcomes or less toxicity when compared to standard treatments. Similarly, new surgical approaches are uniformly recommended and adopted after Phase III trials demonstrate superior safety, tolerability and/or effectiveness.
The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, offers a directory that allows visitors to the site to search for breast cancer clinical trials by stage and subtype, and location.
Many of the advances made in the treatment of breast cancer are a direct result of information gained through clinical trials. The Foundation for Women’s Cancer salutes the women who have made these advances possible and urges you to consider participation in a clinical trial.