Taking part in a clinical trial
The main advantages of participating are:
- to have access to the most innovative care available
- to benefit from new diagnostic tests and vigilant medical follow-ups
- to contribute to the advancement of knowledge on breast cancer and its treatment, in order to benefit future generations.
It is through clinical research trials conducted since the 1970s that breast cancer treatment has experienced its most important medical advances in the last forty years. Thanks to the structured and rigorous scientific methodology of clinical research, large quantities of data were collected allowing new treatment protocols to be established based on collective scientific knowledge.
For example, radical surgery for all patients was replaced by personalized treatments that are more targeted and precise, such as conservation surgery, limiting at the same time side effects from cancer treatment.
Clinical trials have demonstrated, for example, the efficacy of hormonal therapies for hormonal dependent cancers and of trastuzumab (Herceptin) for HER2-positive cancers. Another example of an important study (TAILORx) that has recently shown that women with an early stage cancer along with an intermediate recurrence risk (recurrent score defined by a genomic test), adjuvant chemotherapy had no added benefit in terms of recurrence of the disease and of survival when added to hormonal therapy. These research results changed clinical practice and will spare hundreds of thousands of patients of unnecessary chemotherapy treatments.
Clinical research has therefore proven to be the most powerful lever in refining breast cancer treatment over time, in addition to enabling the development of screening and health promotion programs.
BEATING THE STATISTICS
Discover the story of Susan McPeak, co-founder of the McPeak-Sirois Group, who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and beat statistics by participating in a clinical trial.
RESEARCH THAT CARES
Clinical research is one of the best means to fight breast cancer.
Dr. André Robidoux, Surgical Oncologist at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal and Chair of the Scientific Committee of the McPeak-Sirois Group, explains why.
How can I take part in a Clinical Trial?
Taking part in a Clinical Trial is done on a voluntary basis. You should consider participating in a clinical trial as soon as you receive your diagnosis and before beginning your treatments. Once your treatments have started, your options for a clinical trial could be limited because of study entry criteria.
If you have a recurrent cancer or a metastatic cancer, you could qualify for a clinical trial if your doctor considers initiating a new treatment or changing it. In any case, all clinical studies have strict inclusion and exclusion criteria and only your doctor (or the study doctor) can validate them.
If you wish to participate in a clinical trial, you must first discuss it with your treating doctor. It is possible that your doctor is affiliated with a research center that offers clinical trials to their patients. It is also possible that your doctor recommends that you be followed in another hospital in order to give you access to a particular trial that could be best suited for you.