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Clinical Trials

Updated September 27, 2010

Your doctors may ask you whether you wish to take part in a clinical trial, any research study that tests how well new therapies, medicines or treatments work and whether they are safe and effective.

These new therapies or combinations of therapies may or may not work better than the standard treatment or may be as effective but have fewer side effects.

Each clinical trial explains what type of breast cancer you must have to take or not take part. Federal and state laws protect your rights by having each trial reviewed for fairness by an Institutional Review Board made up of a diverse group of health providers and lay people.

Informed Consent

To take part in a clinical trial, you must volunteer to be a participant. The process of giving your permission is called informed consent. During informed consent, your doctor reviews the risks and benefits of the study. You will be given an informed consent document, which explains in detail all parts of the study, including the treatment options, tests, side effects, risks, benefits and costs.

During the trial, information is reported to a Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent group not involved with the trial.

You Can Make a Difference

Doctors discovered all of the standard treatments available to you today because women like you chose to take part in clinical trials. Before you start treatment, let your doctors and nurses know if you are interested in a clinical trial.

Learn more in our section on Clinical Trials and Research Studies.

Learn about the providers who helped us write this page in our Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.