Winter 2011

In This Issue

The Rise and Fall of the Radical Mastectomy
A Personal Story

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2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Dec. 6-10, 2011
San Antonio, TX

The Latest From the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Register at
Free teleconference
Feb. 8, 2012, 1:30 PM EST

Metastatic Support Call
Young Survival Coalition
Free Support Group
Dec 13, 2011, 8:00 PM EST

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We welcome patients, long-term survivors, or those at risk to consider clinical trials as a routine option for care. Explore our Matching Tool and QuickView Browser to find a trial that's right for you.

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   Editor/Writer: Susan Godstone
   Design: Claudia Fung


To our BCT Community:
We are very excited to bring you this first issue of talking About Trials, our new BCT newsletter. Brought to you every other month, "talking about trials" is precisely what we plan to do as we explore interesting topics about clinical research from many perspectives. It seems only fitting that our inaugural issue would examine the events leading up to the first clinical trial that changed breast cancer care.

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The Rise and Fall of the Radical Mastectomy

And the Clinical Trial that Led to its Demise

For most newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, the option of breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy followed by radiation or simple mastectomy) is taken for granted. But that was not always the case. Forty years ago radical mastectomy was the standard of care. It took a controversial and landmark clinical trial to spare women from this unnecessary and disfiguring surgery.

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A Personal Story

Elly Cohen is Program Director of and a Senior Analyst with the Carol Franc Buck UCSF Breast Care Center. Elly was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 1998. Below she talks about her experience of being in a clinical trial.

What trial did you participate in?
I volunteered for a study that was comparing the effect of two types of support groups on emotional, mental and physical well-being. The control group took a more traditional group counseling approach while the experimental group added alternative activities such as yoga, art and dance therapy. I was randomized to the control group.

Why did this trial attract you in particular?
I was not having much success with traditional drop-in cancer support groups. This trial appealed to me because all the women involved were recently diagnosed and more or less in the same situation as me - going through treatment or making decisions about treatment. Since it was limited to 3 months, I hoped that the participants would attend regularly (which they did) and I would get to know them on a deeper level.

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