Cancer Covered Blog

Why Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are essential to the improvement and advancement of medical care.

Research studies explore whether a medical strategy, treatment or device is safe and effective. Ultimately, it is objective evidence that helps guide our decisions toward strategies and treatments that work best.

Many of my patients express fears or concerns about participating in clinical trials. Most initially say they dislike the idea of being randomized or taking a placebo (sugar pill) drug, or they don’t want to travel to another institution. Most say “I don’t want to be a guinea pig.”

What patients and lay people often don’t know are the real benefits that come with participating in a trial such as access to promising treatments before they are available to the public. These treatments are often free or subsidized by the trial. While a patient is enrolled in a study, a research team closely monitors both care and side effects.

NO clinical trial is going to withhold the gold standard treatment option for a patient. Many trials are just surveys asking about your experience. Some trials ask to use your tumor tissue to look for new clues to fight cancer. In trials that do involve treatment, the trial often consists of using the recommended treatment option and combining it with new drugs or using it in new ways to try to improve the way it works.

Not every doctor or hospital has access clinical trials. Those who do offer trials are usually recognized by the experts in the field and are part of leading health facilities.

In 2002, the NCI (National Cancer Institute) chose a select few oncology groups around the country to bring clinical trials to smaller communities. Green Bay Oncology was one of the chosen few. Green Bay Oncology works closely with academic centers such as UW- Madison, Froedert in Milwaukee and Mayo Clinic to bring trials close to home so patients do not have to travel hours or across state lines to have access to cutting edge medical treatments.

Today there are more than 130 active clinical trials through Green Bay Oncology. For over 10 years we have been able to offer these options to our patients.

Remember that everything we as physicans recommend to you regarding your diagnosis, prognosis and treatment is based on someone before you having participated in a clinical trial. I hope you will consider and encourage those you know with cancer to find out if there is a clinical trial that might be right for them.

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Ruth Warren, DO

Ruth is a thoughtful communicator who delivers compassionate care tailored to each of her patients.

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