Understanding Clinical Trials for Advanced Breast Cancer


Erin Azuse

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We have come a long way with available treatments for advanced breast cancer, but researchers are continuously striving for improved outcomes. Every new medication, procedure, or device developed for treating breast cancer must first undergo rigorous clinical trials to test its safety and effectiveness before it can become a standard treatment. In fact, clinical trials are absolutely necessary to make any advances in medicine. But according to the American Cancer Society, less than 5% of adults with cancer actually participate in clinical trials, posing quite a challenge for researchers. Is this due to lack of knowledge about clinical trials? Not knowing where to find them? Fear of participation? Let’s shed some light on clinical trials and hopefully pave the way for continued breast cancer research.

Why are clinical trials important for advanced breast cancer?

Advanced breast cancer refers to Stage IV, or metastatic breast cancer, which is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Though treatable, there is currently no cure. Additionally, between 20 and 30% of patients with early stage breast cancer will eventually become metastatic. If we ever want to learn how to put an end to advanced breast cancer or prevent early stage cancer from spreading or recurring, clinical trials are needed to find the answers.  

Revolutionary treatments have increased the life expectancy rates for breast cancer patients. Watch this video for more breast cancer facts.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: May 12, 2017

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