Helping to find a cure for breast cancer
Meet Cynthia – a 70-year-old painter and writer from Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood fighting bilateral breast cancer. After a routine mammogram last year, Cynthia received her diagnoses and her journey began.
Cynthia knew overcoming cancer would not be easy, but she was ready to fight.
Dr. Ann Mauer, a medical oncologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Cancer Institute in Chicago, talked to Cynthia about the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial to treat her cancer. Since then, Cynthia has participated in two clinical trials through Illinois Masonic Medical Center —one radiation oncology trial and one medical oncology trial.
“Clinical trials are research studies that lead us to a deeper understanding of how to prevent, treat and cure various diseases, including cancer,” Dr. Mauer says. “These studies aim to identify innovations in treating and preventing cancer. Through clinical trials, we identify new chemotherapy drugs, different radiation treatment techniques and better supportive therapies that help people with cancer live longer and better.”
Doctors at hospitals offering clinical trials often tell their patients about the option to participate in trials based on eligibility requirements.
“Patient participation is completely voluntary,” Dr. Mauer says, “and we will share these opportunities with patients if we believe they would benefit from them.”
Cynthia knows compliance is the one way for her treatment and the study to be effective.
“The results of the study are as good as the people who follow the protocol,” she says. “If I don’t take my medicine the way I’m supposed to, it isn’t going to do any good.”
Patients participating in clinical trials are given information about the risks and benefits of participating as well as what information will be gathered throughout the study.
“We are transparent with our patients. Their safety and knowledge is our top priority, so we walk them through every step of the process,” Dr. Mauer says.
“People talk about finding a cure for cancer all the time, but wearing a pink ribbon isn’t going to help. It’s about research. Research, research and more research,” Cynthia says. “I already have cancer, so why wouldn’t I want to contribute to the medical community to help find a cure?”
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.