October 13th, 2013
Interested in helping fight cancer?
Organizations focused on programs and services related to cancer are always happy to receive your financial donations, and they can’t survive without volunteers who give precious time. But there’s another way you can help combat cancer, one that typically takes little time and won’t cost you a penny.
Research studies investigate ways to prevent or diagnose cancer
Breast and ovarian cancer both run in my family. With breast cancer, monthly self exams and an annual mammogram should help catch the disease early if it were to develop. Ovarian cancer is another story: It rarely presents symptoms until later stages, resulting in fewer treatment options and higher mortality rates.
For the past six years I have been a participant in the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Screening Program (OCEDP), a collaboration between the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research, Swedish Medical Center and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The study is investigating whether blood tests measuring the CA-125 protein and annual ultrasounds help detect ovarian cancer early in women with increased risk. A concurrent study, the Novel Markers trial, aims to find additional blood markers that might complement the CA-125 test.
By taking part in these studies, I am screened for ovarian cancer not once, but twice a year. And my participation will help researchers find ways to detect this form of cancer early. In fact, a recent post on the Fred Hutch blog highlights promising results from ovarian cancer screening trials!
Research study? Clinical trial? What’s the difference?
A research study is also known as a prevention trial. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) describes a cancer prevention trial as a study of a large group of people with the intent of finding better ways to prevent people from getting cancer, or lowering the chances that people will get it.
A treatment or clinical trial finds better ways to treat people who have already been diagnosed with cancer. Clinical trials are treatment-related trials that involve people, and are the final step in a long process that begins with laboratory research. Most cancer treatments used today are the result of past clinical trials.
Interested in becoming part of a study? The Puget Sound region is home to several research centers in need of volunteers:
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- University of Washington Medical Center
- Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research
- Pacific Ovarian Cancer Research Consortium
- Other Clinical Studies via US National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Please feel free to share any other studies looking for participants.