Who are clinical trials good for?

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Question from Tricia: I have Stage IV mets and was thinking of entering a clinical trial. Can you think of any reason why a person should not do a clinical trial?
Answers - Larry Norton, M.D. The answer is if you're eligible for a clinical trial, you will do better on that clinical trial than if you got the same exact medicine off the clinical trial. The only reason not to be on a clinical trial is if you don't meet eligibility requirements for that trial. There are many reasons why participation in clinical trials makes sense. One is that you stand a chance of getting a new promising therapy that is not available except in the clinical trial. Another reason is that if you're being treated on the clinical trial, many hundreds or even thousands of individuals are receiving the same treatment. Because the doctors in the trial are all networked, any information learned from one patient is transmitted to the other doctors so everyone can learn and the information so gathered can be helpful to all the patients. If you're receiving medicine not on a clinical trial, you are somewhat in isolation. By being on a clinical trial, you're part of a community.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer featured Larry Norton, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about managing day-to-day life with metastatic breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2007.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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