Published on November 2, 2020
How to Find Clinical Trials for Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer
Are you an estrogen positive (ER+) or metastatic breast cancer patient looking for the best treatment options? Look no further, because we have a breast cancer expert, breast cancer survivor, and breast cancer patient who is currently in a successful clinical trial here to offer their insights and advice.
Join us as Dr. Erika Hamilton, Director of the Breast Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Research Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Host and Breast Cancer Patient Advocate Megan-Claire Chase, and Breast Cancer Patient Sherry Hitt discuss the best strategies for finding clinical trials, the questions you should be asking your doctors, and how to monitor your treatment progress.
This series is sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power, and Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.
Transcript | Breast Cancer Clinical Trials For ER+/Metastatic Patients
Megan-Claire Chase: Hi, I'm Megan-Claire Chase from Atlanta. I'm a survivor and advocate and I had my four-and-a-half-year cancer-versary—I'm officially NED as of yesterday, and that means no evidence of disease. I have a little bit of scan-xiety, but I'm okay now. My breast cancer was also 100% estrogen positive. So, I'm really looking forward to today's show and I'm sure all of you are as well. It is my pleasure to introduce to you our special guest, Dr. Erika Hamilton from the Sarah Cannon Research Institute at Tennessee Oncology. Welcome, Dr. Hamilton.
Dr. Hamilton: Thank you for having me, Megan-Claire.
Megan-Claire Chase: And Sherry Hitt who is a breast cancer patient and currently in the clinical trial in Nashville as well.
What Should ER+ Breast Cancer Patients Know About Clinical Trials?
Dr. Hamilton: I love kind of getting the message out there about clinical trials. We all have misconceptions about what things are. A lot of people worry that in a clinical trial, they may be getting what we call a placebo or not getting therapy, and that really doesn't happen any longer. So if there's ever a placebo as part of a clinical trial, it's the standard of care medicine plus or minus something else that we're not sure that it adds anything, but nobody doesn't get therapy for cancer anymore. A lot of trials are actually just comparing two different regimens to see what's better and there's no placebo at all. For example, the trial that Sherry's on, it's one arm. So, we know exactly what she's getting.
A lot of people just aren't aware of clinical trials or don't know how to find a clinical trial and how to access that. So I think the more we talk about clinical trials and make that a household thing, the better off we are. Nobody goes and looks to get cancer. And so oftentimes when you're diagnosed with cancer, that's a really bad time to be hearing about something like a clinical trial for the first time, because you're already overwhelmed. As much as we can talk about this as families and friends and things like that, talk about it, we get better and we understand this and some of those questions get eliminated.
Megan-Claire Chase: You bring up a really good point because I didn't realize that clinical trials, like you don't have to be at stage four to be considered for a clinical trial, and that could possibly be an option to go along with your treatment.
Dr. Hamilton: Absolutely.
Megan-Claire Chase: Yeah. So I think it's really important that patients know that, but also that doctors know that as well.
Dr. Hamilton: Yeah, I think that's a great thing for a patient to ask their doctor about. Is there a clinical trial that would be a good fit for me? It is always a great thing to do to ask your doctor questions, right? This was really a care team. It's not one sided. And I think that's something that's very important to talk about. So ask if you have questions.
Advice from a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Patient
Megan-Claire Chase: So Sherry, what advice would you have for others considering a trial?
Sherry Hitt: I followed my past doctor's instructions. She felt like this was going to be a really good fit for me, which it has been. I’ve found the group at Sarah Cannon Tennessee Oncology to be extremely helpful. And I am doing extremely well right now with the trial that I'm on. I would do it in a heartbeat again.
Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.