• Susan G. Komen® Launches Toll-Free Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Helpline

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    Susan G. Komen® today announced a new service for breast cancer patients and their loved ones with the launch of its 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.

    “Clinical trials are critical to the development of new cancer therapies and cancer medicines, and yet very few breast cancer patients participate, either because they’re unaware of trials, are overwhelmed by the information they’re receiving, or are not sure how to raise the subject with their doctors. Our new Clinical Trial Helpline is here to help patients and loved ones get the answers they need, and potentially advance breast cancer research,” said Susan Brown, MS, RN, Sr. Director of Education & Patient Support at Komen.

    Clinical trials test the safety and benefits of new treatments, diagnostic methods and screening tests, and take place globally in many types of medical centers and hospitals. But participation is historically low: only 5 percent of adults in the U.S. participate in clinical trials, although about 20 percent of those with cancer may be eligible. More troubling: fewer than 10 percent of clinical trial participants are members of racial or ethnic minority communities, who often face higher breast cancer mortality rates than their Caucasian counterparts.

    Brown noted that while not everyone will qualify for a clinical trial, the helpline will educate and empower patients to have an informed discussion with their healthcare providers, and could potentially remove barriers that affect participation.

    Komen grantee Karen Schmitt, MA, BSN, sees those barriers firsthand in her role as Director of Cancer Services Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

    “Language, including low literacy in English, can be a deterrent to investigators in approaching patients to offer information and enrollment in clinical trials. This Helpline will offer staff and materials in both English and Spanish, written for a lay audience, to help patients identify open trials that they may be eligible for, and overcome these barriers,” Schmitt said.

    This helpline is one of many Komen resources available to women and men with questions about breast cancer and clinical trials, including the Komen Breast Care Helpline (1 877 GO KOMEN), komen.org, and the Metastatic Trial Search tool on komen.org (developed by Komen partner BreastCancerTrials.org).

    “Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce current U.S. breast cancer deaths by half by 2026, and research is essential to achieving that goal. We invite anyone with a question about clinical trials to call our new Helpline, and let us help you get the information you need to have the discussion with your healthcare provider,” said Ellen Willmott, interim president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “You may not only help yourself, but may also make a difference in the mission to end breast cancer, forever.”

    The largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government, Komen has supported 480 clinical trials since opening its doors in 1982, including research into topics such as breast cancer prevention, new drugs and other treatment approaches, and interventions to improve quality of life and reduce side effects.