Clinical Trials for People with Metastatic Breast Cancer
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Many new treatments for metastatic breast cancer are under study. Most of these are drug therapies.
A clinical trial offers you the chance to try a new treatment and possibly benefit from it. Learning whether a new drug is better than standard treatment can also help others.
Findings from clinical trials determine whether or not new treatments will become a part of the standard of care for metastatic breast cancer. Some treatments may even go on to be used to treat early stage breast cancer or other types of cancer.
Some clinical trials compare a new treatment to standard treatment. So, not everyone in the trial gets the new treatment. However, even those who don’t get the new treatment still get the standard treatment, just as they would if they didn’t join the trial.
Talk with your oncologist about clinical trials. Remember, like all aspects of cancer care, the decision to join a clinical trial is a personal one. Even if you decide not to join a clinical trial now, it doesn’t mean you can’t join one later, if you’re eligible.
Learn what Komen is doing to help people with any stage of breast cancer find and participate in clinical trials.
Lajos Pusztai, M.D., D. Phil.
“Clinical trials provide a chance to receive tomorrow’s therapies today.”
When to consider joining a clinical trial
If you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, consider joining a clinical trial when your oncologist is considering changing treatments, before starting a new treatment or when there are limited treatment options.
Will I get a placebo?
Breast cancer trials never use a placebo (an inactive medicine or “sugar pill”) instead of standard treatment.
You will get either the new treatment or the standard treatment. Sometimes, you may get the standard treatment plus a placebo rather than the standard treatment plus the new treatment being studied.
Where to find a clinical trial
If your medical center doesn’t offer clinical trials, your oncologist can give you a referral to a cancer center that does.
Susan G. Komen® Breast Care Helpline
If you or a loved one needs information or resources about clinical trials, call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877- 465- 6636) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The helpline offers breast cancer clinical trial education and support, such as:
Use the Metastatic Trial Search Tool to find a clinical trial that’s right for you.
What is Susan G. Komen® doing?
Susan G. Komen® supported the Reagan-Udall Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the development of the Expanded Access Navigator website.
Expanded Access (EA) is also known as “compassionate use.” It gives patients access to drugs before they have FDA approval. This may be needed when patients have no other treatment options and are not eligible for (or unable to participate in) a clinical trial.
The EA Navigator tool serves as a clearinghouse of information and resources to help patients and their doctors more easily access information that could impact treatment decisions. The EA Navigator explains what EA is, who may be eligible, how the request process works, as well as the regulatory and policy issues around EA.
The EA Navigator also contains pharmaceutical companies’ EA policies. The open EA programs are listed on the National Institutes of Health’s clinical trials website, www.clinicaltrials.gov.