Unlike clinical trials, epidemiologic studies (sometimes referred to as observational studies) do not involve any type of experimental drug or intervention. Instead, study participants are observed over time. The Sister Study
, for example, is a long-term observational study of women whose sister(s) had breast cancer that is investigating environmental and genetic factors that affect a woman's chances of getting breast cancer.
You can see all of these studies listed on BCT in the Epidemiology QuickView.
These types of studies are designed to investigate ways to reduce a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. Many of these studies look for volunteers who are at high risk of getting breast cancer because they have a strong family history of breast cancer, are known to carry a BRCA genetic mutation, or have a number of known breast cancer risk factors.
You can see all of these trials listed on BCT in this Prevention QuickView.
These types of studies are investigating new tests or new ways to use the tests we already have to find breast cancer in its early stages.
You can see all of these trials listed on BCT in the Screening QuickView and the Diagnostic QuickView.
Quality of Life Trials
These trials (also called Supportive Care trials) are looking at the long-term impact of breast cancer. Many of these trials aim to identify effective ways to improve the quality of life of post-treatment survivors or patients living with metastatic disease, through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and weight loss.
You can see all of these trials listed on BCT in the Supportive Care QuickView.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Studies
An increasing number of studies are investigating the role that complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM) can play in breast cancer care.
You can see all of these trials listed on BCT in the CAM QuickView.
Biological markers (biomarkers) are molecules that provide information about the cancer cell, such as the mutations that are fueling its growth or the drugs that will provide the most effective treatments. Many breast cancer studies now underway are aimed at identifying biomarkers that can be used to identify breast cancer subtypes, determine the most effective cancer therapy, or measure whether the tumor is responding to the cancer therapy or if the tumor is spreading.
You can see all of these trials listed on BCT in the Laboratory QuickView.