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Patient-Centered Guides

September 1999

Hope for 8 Million Cancer Patients in U.S.;
Clinical Trials Offer New Option

SEBASTOPOL, CA--Far too few people with cancer consider clinical trials when making treatment decisions. This is a shame because experimental treatments offer real hope to the 1.2 million Americans newly diagnosed each year.

According to the National Cancer Institute, fewer than 5 percent of people with cancer take part in trials. The lower the participation rate, the longer it takes for new and better treatments to become generally available.

Cancer Clinical Trials: Experimental Treatments & How They Can Help You by Robert Finn (O'Reilly & Associates/Patient-Centered Guides, September 1999) teaches people with cancer, and their families how to find and evaluate clinical trials and how to decide whether to participate in them. Participation in clinical trials offers the individual patient access to new and promising treatments and an enhanced level of medical care.

Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent for NBC News and author of the best-selling Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer has written the foreword to Cancer Clinical Trials. The book includes:

  • How to use the Internet and resources to find clinical trials
  • Reasons to decide in favor of or against a trial
  • Structure, administration and ethical guidelines of clinical trials
  • Who is included and excluded from joining a trial
  • How to read the informed consent document & trial protocol (a lengthy, technical document that contains the scientific details of the clinical trial)
  • Interviews with researchers and patients
  • A script of hard questions to ask yourself and your doctor
There are many reasons why participation rates in clinical trials are so low. Some people recall the horrific Nazi medical experiments or the shameful Tuskegee experiment in which 400 African American men with syphilis were left untreated for decades-even after a cure for syphilis became available--so that scientists could study the natural course of this disease. The truth is because these events took place, there is now far more stringent federal control of clinical trials.

Many doctors, due to their distaste for clinical trials or reluctance to refer patients to other institutions, among other reasons, often don't discuss experimental treatments with their cancer patients. Cancer Clinical Trials is the only guidebook to offer well-researched information so patients can evaluate all the options available to them.

About the Author

Robert Finn is a science and medical journalist who has written hundreds of articles for dozens of publications, including Discover, Men's Fitness, the Los Angeles Times, and The Scientist. Although he has written about practically all areas of science, he specializes in biomedicine and in science policy and has interviewed close to 1,000 scientists, physicians, and other experts during his career. Robert Finn also conducts nationwide workshops based on the book and is now working on a book on organ transplants due out in early 2000.

Cancer Clinical Trials: Experimental Treatments & How They Can Help You
by Robert Finn
$14.95, 216 pages, paperback
ISBN: 1-56592-566-1
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1999

About Patient-Centered Guides

Patient empowerment is the central theme at the core of the Patient-Centered Guides series. We believe that people are empowered when they have the knowledge and skills to partner with their doctor or healthcare provider to get the best medical care possible.

We publish books that contain clear, concise, easy to understand information about the medical, practical and emotional aspects of health issues. All of our authors are experts in specific conditions and diseases and are the driving forces behind building strong and networked communities of patients, families and caregivers.

In addition to our books, we publish information on the Web. Our site is an extension of our mission to empower individuals to become informed health-conscious consumers.

Patient-Centered Guides is a division of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. O'Reilly is recognized worldwide for its technical books that fill a void and provide value to people who are experiencing information pain. O'Reilly publishes books that make a difference in people's lives.

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