Breast Cancer (cont.)

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What research is being done on breast cancer? Should I participate in a clinical trial?

Without research and clinical trials there would be no progress in our treatment of cancers.

Research can take many forms, including research directly on cancer cells or using animals.

Research that a patient can be involved in is referred to as a clinical trial. In clinical trials, different treatment regimens are compared for side effects and outcomes including long-term survival. Clinical trials are designed to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective.

Whether you should participate in a clinical trial is your decision and should be based upon a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the trial. You should discuss the trial with your health care team and ask how this trial might be different from the treatment you would usually receive.

You should never be forced to participate in a clinical trial or be involved in a trial without your full understanding of the trial and a written and signed consent.

I may have breast cancer, what questions should I ask my doctor?

If you have received a positive or possible diagnosis of breast cancer, there are a number of questions that you can ask your doctor. The answers you receive to these questions should give you a better understanding of your specific diagnosis and the corresponding treatment. It is usually helpful to write your questions down before you meet with your health care professional. This gives you the opportunity to ask all your questions in an organized fashion.

Each question is followed by a brief explanation as to why that particular question is important. We will not attempt to answer these questions in detail here because each individual case is just that, individual. This outline is designed to provide a framework to help you and your family make certain that most of the important questions in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment have been addressed. As cancer treatments are constantly evolving, specific recommendations and treatments might change and you should always confer with your treatment team regarding any questions. You obviously should add your own questions and concerns to these when you have a discussion with your doctor.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/25/2013

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