Saving Lives Through Breast Cancer Trials

Kathryn at our recent Grants Award Ceremony

At age 32 I was face-to-face with a grizzly bear — a grizzly that a lot of us have faced before or are facing today. I was given the choice of an Uzi or pop gun. I chose Uzi – a clinical trial that I feel saved my life.  Today I am 46 years old, and a 14-year breast cancer survivor – the last nine years as a stage 4 metastatic breast cancer survivor.  A majority of my treatments included clinical trials over the years that have been funded by Komen.  Through its research and scientific programs, Susan G. Komen has provided funding for numerous clinical trials. In 2010 and 2011, Komen provided more than $54 million to 74 grants that supported 83 clinical trials in the U.S and around the globe. A consistent commitment over the last 30 years of $685 million to research.

Through clinical trials, Komen-funded researchers are able to integrate basic and clinical science through the discovery and translation of novel approaches to breast cancer care.  The goal is to answer critical questions and identify promising new strategies for detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer that will have an impact on patients within the decade.

I am sharing my story to be a myth buster – because maybe you might have the misunderstanding as I did about trials. I thought if I entered in a trial I would have to hope to be one of the “lucky” ones to receive the drugs…when actually I have been in trials testing new and combination therapies targeting my cancer cells and I have had amazing results.  Also, I didn’t realize that at my fingertips I would have access to all the open trials through an amazing website breastcancertrials.org where I am able to put in my zip code and my treatment history to see what trials I qualify for and where they are located – when in the past it was overwhelming to understand what was even available.

Komen Affiliates, like our Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Affiliate provide clinical trial support in their communities with grants that focus on increasing access to clinical trials.  These efforts are of particular importance in low income and minority populations, where clinical trial participation is low.

Fourteen years ago I had to blast the grizzly with an ozzy….today due to the amazing breakthroughs I, along with my team of doctors, use a sharpshooter – pinpointing my breast cancer.  I just completed a trial called TDM1 which kept my cancer at bay for over a year and allowed me to live the life I love.  While in treatment I met many women that are now in remission.  The treatment has amazing success stories and is scheduled to be released soon.  I feel I had a part of this release and I encourage you to join the success stories and find out more about clinical trials.

I believe in Komen’s Promise…to save lives and end breast cancer forever…by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all…and energizing science to find the cures.

– Kathryn Becker

For more information, please visit the Breast Cancer Registry breastcancerregistry.org and breastcancertrials.org

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