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Cancer Research

Help Find a Cure

Fifty years ago, only one in four people survived cancer. Today, nearly half of all Americans who develop cancer will survive it. Much of that progress is a direct result of scientific research aimed at early detection, better diagnostic methods and more effective treatment.

The research program at Providence Regional Cancer Center actively recruits patients for more than 40 National Cancer Institute phase II and phase III cancer trials. “Compassionate use” protocols also are available to help patients gain access to medical therapies that have demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials, but aren’t commercially available, pending FDA approval.

The importance of supporting basic research in cancer has led to a relationship between the Providence Regional Cancer Center and the Cancer Prevention & Research Center at Washington State University.

For more information, call (509) 474-5490.

Research Affiliates

Providence Regional Cancer Center partners with a number of research groups, including:

  • Children’s Oncology Group
  • Cancer and Leukemia Group B
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group
  • Southwest Oncology Group
  • National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Program
  • GYN Oncology Group
  • NCI’s Clinic Trials Support Group
  • Radiation Therapy Oncology Group
  • Puget Sound Oncology Consortium
  • National Cancer Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cancer clinical trials?

Clinical trials, also called research studies or protocols, test new treatments for people with cancer. The goal is to find better ways to treat cancer and help cancer patients. Clinical trials test many types of treatment such as new drugs, new approaches to surgery and radiation therapy, or new methods like gene therapy. The goal of treatment may be to cure, extend life expectancy or improve quality of life.

What are the pros and cons of participating?

While a clinical trial is a good choice for some people, it has possible benefits and drawbacks.

Possible Benefits

High-quality care. If you’re in a study and don’t receive the new treatment being tested, you’ll receive the best standard treatment. It may be as good as, or better than, the new approach.

If the new treatment approach is proven to work, and you’re taking it, you may be among the first to benefit.

You have the chance to help others and improve cancer treatment.

Nationally prominent oncologists create and monitor the treatment plan.

Possible Drawbacks

New treatments under study aren’t always better than or even as good as standard care. They may have side effects doctors don’t expect or that are worse than those of standard treatment.

Even if a new treatment has benefits, it may not work for you. Even standard treatments, proven effective for many people, don’t help everyone.

If you receive standard treatment instead of the new treatment being tested, it may not be as effective as the new approach.

Can I leave a clinical trial at any time?

Absolutely! Patients aren’t locked into clinical trials. They may leave at any time. Your doctor may remove you if he or she feels it’s medically necessary.

How do I decide what’s best for me or for my loved one?

Being diagnosed with cancer and choosing a treatment can be overwhelming. It’s important for you to discuss all your options with your doctors and loved ones.

As you consider a trial, remember that you’re not alone. At Providence, your cancer research nurse can help you understand the treatment options your doctor recommends. She can help you make a list of questions to ask your doctor and give you additional information. Feel free to bring your spouse, family members or close friends to your appointments.

Tumor Registry

When cancer touches a life, the patient and family have many questions. Why did this happen? Which treatment is best?

Oncologists are able to answer many of these questions based on important cancer research. A vital part of that research involves analysis of information compiled by the tumor registry. The primary function of the tumor registry is to collect information on each cancer patient diagnosed at Providence Regional Cancer Center.

Each year, approximately 1600 new cases are diagnosed and maintained in a database that includes more than 56,000 cases. Each patient is followed annually. This information is a valuable resource for doctors when evaluating current cancer treatment, response to treatment and patient survival.