Physical Health

Talking to Your Doctor about Clinical Trials and Treatment Options

Cancer research is always changing. Currently, there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), so staying up-to-date about new treatments and talking to your doctor about your options may help you live the best life possible. Treatments do not work the same for everyone living, so you and your doctor will discuss potential treatments that may work for you. During these conversations, you may talk about clinical trial results to help make your choice.

Understanding what clinical trials results mean – and how they may impact your care – can be difficult. The first step in talking to your doctors about clinical trial results is to understand the words he or she may use – this information may help.

Understanding Clinical Trial Results

When talking about clinical trials results, your treatment team and oncologist may use technical terms, such as “overall survival” or “progression-free survival.” Watch this video or read below to learn more about what these terms mean.

Hear from MBC Physicians

Dr. Fatima Cardoso and Dr. Ana Casas are oncologists who treat people living with metastatic breast cancer. They spoke about the endpoints used clinical trials, and the difference between “overall survival” and “progression-free survival” – including what it may mean for you.

Some women with metastatic breast cancer wish they had more time to talk to their healthcare providers about their needs.

In 2014, we commissioned the Make Your Dialogue Count survey to better understand how we can help you work with your healthcare team and loved ones to improve talks with your healthcare provider.

The focus of your visits with your healthcare provider may change over time—from your diagnosis, to treatment switches or to managing treatment side effects. No matter what the focus, it is important to be honest and to speak up about your needs.

We used results from the 2014 Make Your Dialogue Count survey to create a personalized discussion guide to help you make the most of your time with your healthcare providers (eg physician, oncologist, nurse, psychologist).

This information can help you prepare for your healthcare provider visits. We encourage you to come back and get a new discussion guide when you feel your emotions, concerns or priorities change.

To create your personal discussion guide:
  • 1

    Click the Take it Now button below to start the questionnaire

  • 2

    Answer the six brief questions that follow

  • 3

    Click complete and print or save your personalized discussion guide

Take It Now
About the survey

This survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Novartis between June 19 and August 22, 2014. A total of 359 surveys were collected among women age 21+ diagnosed with advanced breast cancer (that is, breast cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body) in addition to 234 caregivers to women with advanced breast cancer and 252 licensed oncologists who treat at least five advanced breast cancer patients per month within the United States. Please note that some questions were only asked of patients who have received treatment for their advanced breast cancer (n=347). Similarly, for caregivers, some questions were only asked of caregivers whose loved has received advanced breast cancer treatment (n=230). Patient and caregiver interviews were collected via a variety of methods including online, phone, and paper methodologies. Patient and caregiver data were not weighted and therefore representative only of the individuals interviewed. All oncologist interviews were conducted online. Oncologist data were weighted by sex, years in practice and region where necessary to reflect the population of licensed oncologists practicing within the United States. No estimates of error can be computed.

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