If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer (BC), you probably feel like your world has been turned upside down. Your days are likely filled with multiple doctors’ visits and anxiety about your diagnosis and the effects of treatment. Now you’re considering searching for breast cancer treatment clinical trials on top of everything else.
Let’s discuss three important factors that can make your search easier.
1. Take the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic into Account.
When COVID-19 came onto the scene in 2020, it changed nearly everything in people’s lives—and for you, that was on top of the new reality that came with your BC diagnosis. Many homes suddenly became work offices. Public schools closed throughout the country, introducing virtual learning for children. Countless restaurants and small businesses closed their doors, many for good, and social lives became things of the past. The pandemic also impacted the performance of BC treatment clinical trials.
The good news is that as more people are getting vaccinated, many COVID-19 restrictions are gradually being lifted. That said, it’s crucial to be aware of the following:
- As you’re searching for breast cancer treatment clinical trials, be aware that online clinical trial listings may not be current due to remaining COVID-19 restrictions. Some research sites may be incorrectly listed as currently recruiting, whereas others may be delayed in responding to interested potential participants due to restrictions or closures.
- If you’re interested in a clinical trial and waiting for a response to your inquiry, contact the research site directly by phone to confirm the study’s status. If you’re currently participating in a trial, it’s crucial that you contact the study site to verify your scheduled study visits.
- Many pharmaceutical companies may have temporarily suspended the initiation of new clinical studies or paused bringing on new study sites. However, in light of increasing COVID-19 vaccinations and the lifting of certain restrictions, these pharmaceutical companies may have determined that they’re now ready to activate new trials and restart trials where enrollment had been put on hold.
- If you’re interested in joining a BC treatment clinical trial, speak with members of the study team to determine the guidelines that they’re following regarding the care of any participants exposed to or infected with COVID-19 after enrollment. Also, ask about the specific measures and policies that the trial site is following to ensure the protection of trial participants, the integrity of trial conduct, and the fulfillment of state, national, and international requirements.
2. Learn Where to Search for Breast Cancer Treatment Clinical Trials.
In the past, clinical trials used to be conducted solely at major medical centers. Fortunately, however, there is an increasing number of options today, so more people can participate.
- A patient’s own physician, a local community medical center, or an ambulatory practice may conduct BC treatment clinical trials much closer to a patient’s home. Ask your treatment team whether they’re conducting BC treatment clinical trials or are aware of other local centers or private practices that are recruiting for clinical trials. This may provide you with more options for participating in a trial, enabling you to remain locally and continue to see your own doctor.
- Many biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies sponsor BC treatment clinical trials. Consider regularly visiting pharmaceutical company websites to search for them. For example, if you visit Merck’s website and search “breast cancer,” you’ll be taken to a page that includes results from several of their BC clinical trials. Similarly, you can search online to locate and subscribe to newsletters that cover pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical news. When you find such sites, use the term “breast cancer” to search for related treatment clinical trials and their results.
- Many non-profit organizations, such as medical foundations and patient advocate groups, also sponsor clinical trials.
- Several digital resources are available for patients who are searching for breast cancer treatment clinical trials, including ClinicalTrials.gov, CenterWatch, and the National Cancer Institute. Furthermore, many BC patient advocate groups offer online search tools to help patients locate appropriate clinical trials.
3. Understand the Importance of Gathering All Your Medical Records Digitally.
Ensure that you’ve gathered all your medical records digitally, since this is crucial in helping you locate the appropriate trials. It also enables a clinical trial team to confirm all necessary inclusion and exclusion criteria concerning your BC type, stage, pathology results, biomarker and genetic sequencing results, and more.
Many find the thought of gathering all their medical records intimidating. Fortunately, free online service Ciitizen will collect all your medical records for you and digitize them—100% free. You’ll then be a critical step closer to identifying the clinical trials that are right for you.
Ciitizen is a free service that helps patients get more out of their health records. Our platform enables patients to find better treatment options and gives them the opportunity to advance the research for cures.
Ready to get your medical records in order? Get started today!