Find a Clinical Trial

Find a Clinical Trial in collaboration with Susan G. Komen offers a custom matching service that can help you find a clinical trial that fits your health needs.

Susan G. Komen recently launched a new Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Information Helpline (1-877-465-6636). The toll-free helpline aims to increase understanding of breast cancer clinical trials, give people the information and resources they need to make an educated decision about clinical trial enrollment and make it easier for breast cancer patients to participate in and potentially benefit from promising research.

The following websites offer more information on clinical trials and help in finding a clinical trial.

Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan

CenterWatch clinical trials listing service

Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups clinical trials matching and referral services

National Cancer Institute (NCI) clinical trials website

National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trials websites


Over the past 30 years, treatment of breast cancer has greatly improved due to lessons learned through clinical trials.

Clinical trials test the safety and benefits of new treatments, diagnostic methods and screening tests. People volunteer to take part in these research studies.

Whether a new therapy or test becomes part of standard treatment (or diagnosis or screening) for breast cancer depends largely on clinical trial results. For example, clinical trials showed the benefit of hormone therapies and trastuzumab (Herceptin) in breast cancer treatment and these drugs are now part of standard care. Large randomized clinical trials are viewed as the best basis for making treatment guidelines.

Clinical trials take place across the country (and around the world) in many types of medical centers and hospitals. Often, trials are funded by a single agency like the National Cancer Institute (a government agency) and are carried out at the same time in many sites across the country. These are called cooperative group clinical trials, and they allow researchers to increase the number of people in a given study.

Dedicated physicians, researchers and other health professionals, as well as hospitals, medical research centers and funders are all key to clinical trials. However, most important are the participants. Those who join clinical trials help further the knowledge base that ultimately helps improve breast cancer care.

Benefits and Possible Drawbacks


If you have breast cancer, we encourage you to join a clinical trial. Clinical trials offer the chance to try new treatments and possibly benefit from them. Learning a new therapy is better than the standard treatment can also help others. And, as new therapies are developed, they can open doors to other drugs and procedures that may be
even more effective.

Some people worry they will get a placebo instead of an effective treatment in a clinical trial. However, placebos are not used in metastatic breast cancer clinical trials and are not commonly used in other cancer trials. Your health care provider or the clinical research staff can tell you if there is a placebo in the study.

Most often in a breast cancer treatment clinical trial, you will get either the new treatment or the standard treatment. So, even if you do not get the new drug (or other new therapy), your breast cancer will be treated just as it would if you were not in the trial.

Sometimes in a non-metastatic cancer trial, you may get standard treatment plus a placebo rather than standard treatment plus a new treatment.

Possible Drawbacks

Financial Issues

  • New treatment or tests being studied are usually paid for by the clinical trial. Out-of-pocket costs for most clinical trials are the same as those for standard treatment.
  • The Affordable Care Act now requires insurance companies to cover non-research, standard care costs related to a clinical trial (that are not covered by the trial itself) plus any standard treatment given (learn more).
  • Before enrolling in a clinical trial, talk with your insurance provider and find out exactly which costs are covered (and which are not). This ensures you do not have any unexpected costs, such as out-of-network fees.
  • Clinical trials at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland are free of charge to those who are eligible to join and willing to get treatment at the center. For more information on these studies, visit the NIH clinical center website or call 1-800-4CANCER.

Location of Clinical Trials

  • Where you live may be a factor in choosing to join a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are done only in one (or a few) medical centers, while others are done in many locations across the country. There may not be a clinical trial that is right for you in your local area.

Side Effects

  • The risks of a new treatment may not be fully understood, so there may be some unexpected side effects. Though testing keeps these risks as small as possible, all the side effects of a new treatment are often not revealed until after long-term testing and follow-up.
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