Researchers and the medical community recognize the need for trained advocates and their support role to the clinical trials process. Obviously, without participants, research outcomes are limited. Implementing and utilizing research-based peer mentor programs is a systematic change that will lead to greater progress in breast cancer research. The DBCC’s Clinical Trials Mentoring Initiative provides trained advocates to work in a comprehensive partnership with researchers, the medical community and patient enrollees. There are no other advocacy programs in Delaware that make use of trained survivors in the clinical trials process.
The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Clinical Trials Initiative consists of education and promotion components, is designed to provide systematic change in the way that potential participants gain an understanding of the complex details, benefits and patient protections of clinical trials, with the ultimate goal that better understanding leads to increased enrollments.
To implement the clinical trials initiative, DBCC developed a specialized clinical trials education program, utilizing educational materials from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This training is part of the Peer Mentor Training, and part of an advanced training for mentors.
Newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who are referred to DBCC’s Peer Mentor Program and who have been offered participation in a clinical trial are assigned to a Mentor who has completed the clinical trials educational program.
Our Mentors can provide newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with information to enable them to understand why clinical trials are important, how they work, how they advance cancer care and research, and how participants are protected. Mentors assist patients with deciphering details and complex paperwork associated with clinical trials. This initiative complements the efforts of the surgeons and oncologists and has gained the support from the medical community at the Graham Cancer Center.