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"We can beat this disease if more people participate in cancer research. I credit my own victory against cancer to the many men, women, and children who joined a clinical trial and helped move us further along the road to victory by turning experimental drugs into effective treatments."
-- Lance Armstrong

Research: Leading The Race Against Cancer

For the millions of people living with cancer, and for those at high risk of developing cancer, medical research and cancer clinical trials provide hope — and a number of other benefits. In 1996, when I was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer, I felt hopeless. I thought cancer was a death sentence. But that was not the case. I quickly learned from my doctors that thanks to cancer research, new treatments were available for my cancer that weren’t around just 10 years before. Although I did not participate in a study, I benefited from the hundreds of patients before me who enrolled in clinical trials to find a cure for this once-deadly form of cancer.

Today, I am determined to let everyone know that we can beat this disease if more people participate in cancer research. Clinical trials are responsible for the steady progress and breakthroughs that have been made to help cure cancer. From the scientific point of view, clinical trials are designed to help find safer, more effective treatments for cancer patients. From a patient's viewpoint, clinical trials offer quality, state-of-the-art technology and treatment options.

Unfortunately, many cancer patients don’t even know that clinical studies are an option. Many don’t understand the research and don’t have the information necessary to decide if clinical trials are right for them. Our race against cancer depends on more people understanding that trials are safe, accessible and necessary. We must increase participation in clinical trials…only then can we approach the finish line in our race for a cancer cure.

Doctors and research scientists are dedicated to developing new ways of treating cancer. Each day, they strive to uncover the secrets surrounding the disease. Thousands of people, both healthy and sick, have contributed to medical research by entering into clinical trials to test new treatment approaches. I credit my own victory against cancer to the many men, women, and children who joined a clinical trial and helped move us further along the road to victory by turning experimental drugs into effective treatments. If it had not been for them, I do not believe I would be alive today. They are the true cancer champions.

But the race is far from over. We have made great progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, but we haven’t crossed the finish line yet. Success—winning the race, finding a cure—still lies ahead, inspiring us to push our limits. But, more people are needed to help us reach that finish line. If you have cancer, you can learn more about clinical trials and consider enrolling in one that is right for you.

 

More Choices, More Hope

Cancer survivors today are living longer and healthier lives, thanks to advances in research and technology. More than 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, and, with modern medicine, today’s statistics show that 62 percent will survive more than five years after treatment3. However, many cancers are still lagging in the race for a cure, and many people living with cancer are searching for a better quality of life.

Besides advances made in research and technology, an increase in our knowledge about cancer has helped us reach many milestones in the race. This knowledge — about the disease, detection and screening, treatment options, and quality cancer care — gives us hope, particularly when we see that many survival rates really ARE improving. It also helps us ask the right questions and know about the different treatment options available.

 

The Competitive Edge

In any contest, victory is achieved by maintaining a competitive edge. In the world of cycling, the team studies its route, reviews its positioning, and maps a strategy. As a cancer patient actively involved in your care, you can assemble your team of medical experts to help assess treatment options and map out the right strategy for you, which may include a clinical trial. Three major players provide the backbone of the treatment team—the medical oncologist, surgical oncologist, and the radiation therapy oncologist—with many others in key supporting roles, including your family physician, oncology nurses, radiation therapists, nurse practitioners, psychologists, certified cancer social workers, and technicians who support the doctors. For more information about your treatment team, click here.

With full knowledge of the course, you are better equipped to ride a strong race. Medical research is the reason we have made so many advances in cancer treatment. It represents hope for the cure. But, here is the reality: Less than five percent of all cancer patients take part in clinical trials4, yet there are more than 400 new therapies that need to be studied.5 Just think of the progress we could make if more people with cancer enrolled in a clinical trial.