Through clinical trials, physicians can look for better ways to treat cancer.


Cancer death rates are dropping. Clinical trials help explain why.

In the past quarter century, lives have been saved through improved cancer screenings and the development of more advanced treatment options. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), as of 2016, cancer death rates in the U.S. had declined 27% since peaking in 1991. 

Still, however, 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 deaths are expected to occur in the U.S. in 2019, according to the ACS.

So, what can you do if you or a loved one receive a cancer diagnosis?  The answer: You need to actively participate in your cancer journey.  You need to educate yourself about your disease, treatment options and ongoing clinical trials.

Clinical trials are research studies that involve patients. It is through the conduction of clinical trials that physicians find better ways to treat cancer. Trials can involve prevention, screening or treatment. When a patient participates, they potentially improve their own outcome and enhance knowledge for the benefit of future patients.

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is part of a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Program. This is one of 47 comprehensive clinical trial networks in the U.S.

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with cancer, empower yourself and ask your doctor if you qualify for a clinical trial.

About the expert

Judie Goodman, D.O., is medical director of Oncology Services at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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