Breast Cancer Site Finds Life-Saving Matches - NBC Bay Area

Breast Cancer Site Finds Life-Saving Matches



    Breast Cancer Site Finds Life-Saving Matches

    A new tool is helping women fight breast cancer, by matching individuals to the clinical trial that's right for them.

    192,370 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, but if it's caught early and the patient is matched up with the right treatment she has a 98% survival rate today, according to the American Cancer Society.

    That's where comes in. The site was developed by Joan Schreiner and Joanne Tyler, two Bay Area women and breast cancer survivors. Users joke it's like for breast cancer patients. They enter their unique medical information into the site, then they and are matched up with teams of researchers.

    "Suddenly I get choices, I have decisions to make, I can decide what I want to do and what's best for me. It's a very empowering feeling," said Valerie Gardner, a user of the site.

    Many women don't realize they qualify for clinical trials, says Elly Cohen, a breast cancer survivor who helps manage the site out of  the University of California at San Francisco.

    "One of the biggest myths is that trials are only for people who run out of options and that's really not the case at all," said Cohen.

    Right now, UCSF's Dr. Laura Esserman is looking for hundreds of patients to participate in a clinical trial for women with locally advanced breast cancer. There are also trials for breast cancer prevention, for post cancer patients, and for people who have been recently diagnosed.

    Such trials not only help participants survive, but are also the key to finding a cure, said Esserman.

    "Everything we have ever learned about breast cancer, every advance has come out of clinical trials," she said. "I think that we can very soon see a time when we don't have to worry about dying from breast cancer."