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Cancer research trials are carried out to try to find new and better treatments for cancer.
Trials that are carried out on patients are known as clinical trials.
Clinical trials may be carried out to:
Trials are the only reliable way to find out if a different operation, type of treatment or drug is better than what’s already available.
You may be asked to take part in a treatment research trial. There can be many benefits in doing this. Trials help to improve knowledge about cancer and develop new treatments. You will be carefully monitored during and after the study.
Usually, several hospitals around the country take part in these trials. It’s important to bear in mind that some treatments that look promising at first are often later found not to be as good as existing treatments or to have side effects that outweigh the benefits.
If you decide not to take part in a trial, your decision will be respected and you don’t have to give a reason. However, it can help to let the staff know your concerns so that they can give you the best advice. There will be no change in the way that you’re treated by the hospital staff, and you’ll be offered the standard treatment for your situation.
Blood samples and tissue samples may be taken to help makethe right diagnosis. You may be asked for your permission to use some of your samples for research into cancer. If you take part in a trial you may also give other samples, which may be frozen and stored for future use when new research techniques become available. Your name will be removed from the samples so you can’t be identified.
There are usually different trials going on, and your specialist can tell you about suitable trials. Some of the trials that include women with DCIS are listed below.
The ICICLE trial is trying to identify the genes that may increase the risk of DCIS and which women with DCIS would be more likely to develop invasive cancer if DCIS were not treated.
The IBIS II DCIS trial is comparing tamoxifen with anastrozole after surgery in post-menopausal women (aged 40–70) with DCIS. It doesn’t include women who have had mastectomy for DCIS.
The IBIS II Prevention trial is trying to find out if anastrozole can be used to prevent breast cancer from developing in post-menopausal women who are at increased risk. It includes women who had DCIS and were treated with mastectomy in the last six months.
There may also be trials trying to find out if different ways of giving radiotherapy to the breast causes fewer side effects.
Our section on clinical trials| describes the process in more detail. It includes details of databases you can search to look at trials for breast cancer.
Content last reviewed: 1 February 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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