May is National Cancer Research Month. As a cancer survivor, I scour the Internet every day for the latest cancer news. This year, the timing of National Cancer Research Month is very apropos. In the last week, there have been multiple FDA approvals for new cancer treatments, including treatments for advanced lung and thyroid cancers.
As these approvals show, clinical trials are an important part of the cancer continuum! They improve cancer care by demonstrating that new treatment options are not only safe and effective, but better than current treatment options.
During my cancer journey, I also personally benefited from clinical trials. As part of my treatment plan, I received ipilimumab. The treatment had only been approved the year before. Although ipilimumab did have some unpleasant side effects, the side effects and length of treatment were nothing compared to those I would have had if I had received the standard drug instead of my treatment through ongoing cancer research.
All cancer survivors and their families benefit from clinical trials. Even if you do not enroll in a clinical trial, the treatment you receive was once part of a clinical trial. Today’s clinical trials are truly tomorrow’s standard of care. Let’s use this month to celebrate cancer research and the great advancements happening in cancer care.