Different Approaches to Discussing Clinical Trials with Patients

Patricia Spears discusses the various approaches to discussing clinical trials, and in which situations to use them. This video was filmed December 11 at the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Patricia Spears: So, I think the conversation about clinical trials is different depending on what patient you’re talking about the clinical trial with. You know, if you’ve got a patient that’s recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, they’re really in shock right then and they might not want to know about the clinical trial yet. But they want to know in general more about their disease, and then about clinical trials and how they might help in the disease, and then you go into the actual trial itself. I think if you approach an early diagnosed patient just on diagnosis you’re going to scare them with a clinical trial sometimes, because they can be kind of complex. And they kind of say, “Well I need a clinical trial and why is that,” and they ask more questions. So, if you really frame it in the way that this is your disease, this is what trials are, and this might be an option for you, that’s easier. I think when you’re talking to patients who might have metastatic disease that have been through many courses of treatment, it becomes a treatment option going forward. And so that’s a very different conversation with that patient. Not necessarily—they don’t have to be knowledgeable about cancer itself in the scientific way, but they have the experience of having their cancer, and so that conversation is a little bit different I think.