If you get the opportunity - participate in a clinical trial

There are numerous clinical trials taking place around New Zealand to gather evidence about new medicines or treatment methods that may help to improve breast cancer care in future.

In a clinical trial, a large number of women with breast cancer will be asked to test a new medicine, group of medicines or treatment method. 

Researchers can then compare the outcomes for these women with the outcomes for women on a more usual treatment programme.

At the moment some of the clinical trials open to New Zealand women are examining the following:

  • Different course lengths for radiation therapy treatment
  • Sentinel node biopsy
  • A new drug compound called T-DM1
  • A drug called Anastrozole 

Waikato surgeon, Associate Professor Ian Campbell, recommends that if women get the opportunity, they should participate in a clinical trial.

“There have been a number of studies which show that women who go into a clinical trial tend to do better no matter what arm of the clinical trial they get, than women who don’t.  And that’s in part because clinical trials are carefully controlled and the teams of doctors who participate in them are at the leading edge of their field.”

Breast cancer survivor, Raewyn Calvert, has participated in two clinical trials.  She says her involvement helped her because she knew she was doing everything possible to keep the cancer at bay. 

Mrs Calvert says participating in clinical trials provides a legacy for women who may get breast cancer in future.

“When I think about the trials that I have been on, I just feel incredible gratitude to the women who have done this before me because without what they’ve done who knows whether I’d even be here now, so I feel really passionate about my involvement with the trials.”

To find out more and to see what trials are available in New Zealand, visit our clinical trials page.