The Importance of Clinical Trials

Since the 1990s, deaths from breast cancer have decreased by nearly 40%. The reasons for this are (1) better screening (e.g., mammography) and (2) better treatments. A 40% decrease is good, but not good enough. Unfortunately, most metastatic disease (breast cancer that has spread to other organs) is treatable, but not curable in 2018, and 1 in 5 breast cancer patients will die of their breast cancer.

This is why research is key, and clinical trials are a critical resource in the discovery of new prevention, diagnostic, and treatment methods for cancer. Most of today’s most effective prevention and treatment modalities are based on previous clinical trial results. Clinical trials are an opportunity to provide “tomorrow’s treatment today.”

At Bon Secours, we are excited to be able to offer 13 different clinical trials in breast cancer alone, including 7 for triple negative breast cancer. Clinical trials are an important tool to try to reduce the risk of breast cancer returning, to improve the quality of life of our patients, and to treat metastatic disease.

For more information about clinical trials that may be of interest to you, please speak with your doctor, or visit or

William J. Irvin, Jr., M.D.
Medical Director, Medical Oncology, Virginia / Director of Clinical Research /
Bon Secours Virginia Health System / Bon Secours Cancer Institute
Board Member, Komen Central Virginia