Why participate in a clinical trial for breast cancer?

Why participate in a clinical trial for breast cancer?

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are research studies conducted to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new medical treatments, interventions, or approaches. Clinical trials for breast cancer may investigate various aspects such as new medications, surgical techniques, radiation therapies, or combination therapies. While most clinical trials for cancer in Australia focus on treatments, there are also trials focused on breast cancer screening and diagnostics.1,2

What are the benefits of participating in a breast cancer trial?

Your healthcare team will discuss the possible advantages and disadvantages of participating in a clinical trial with you before you join. Some benefits include:2,3

  • Access to treatments under study: clinical trials may offer access to breast cancer treatments that are not readily available outside of the study; you may also be able to get access to specific drugs recommended by your specialist that are not currently subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • Contribution to medical knowledge: by participating in a clinical trial, you help researchers learn more about breast cancer and how to treat it
  • Comprehensive care and monitoring: participants in clinical trials receive close monitoring and follow-up care from experienced medical teams, at no additional cost
  • Potential for better outcomes: there is a possibility that the treatment being evaluated in the clinical trial is more effective than the standard treatment for breast cancer 1
  • Participating in a clinical trial helps to advance medical knowledge


What are the risks of participating in a clinical trial?

Every clinical trial is different so the risks associated with them may differ. Some common disadvantages of clinical trials include:2,3

  • Unknown side effects: because experimental treatments are still being evaluated, there may be unknown side effects associated with them
  • Treatment randomisation: if participants are being randomly assigned to different treatment groups, you may not have control over which treatment you receive
  • Additional time and commitment: clinical trial participation often requires additional time for appointments, treatments, and follow-up assessments 1

Who can participate in a breast cancer clinical trial?

Each clinical trial has a set of guidelines about who can join, called eligibility criteria which are approved by an accredited Ethics Committee. These may specify a particular cancer type (e.g., triple negative breast cancer), stage of breast cancer (e.g., metastatic breast cancer), previous treatments, and other factors. It's important to note that participation in a clinical trial is voluntary, and patients always have the right to withdraw at any time.1,2


More information

Find out more about cancer clinical trials today!

This blog is provided for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for your own healthcare professional's advice. It should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any medical procedure or treatment carries risks. Individual treatment outcomes and experiences will vary.

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