LiveWell Blog

Clinical Trial Advancements with Dr. I-Wen Chang

Dr. I-Wen Chang joined Southeastern Medical Oncology Center in August 2007. She is board certified both in hematology and medical oncology. Dr. Chang completed medical school, internal medicine residency and fellowship at Wake Forest University North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, NC.

I have just been diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. Why should I consider participating in a clinical trial?

— DeeAnn S., Wilson

Choosing to participate can be a complex decision, as well as a frightening one. I salute you, DeeAnn, for taking an active role in decisions regarding your health and seeking to learn more about clinical trials.

This year, an estimated 83,000 women will be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer and, despite the importance of participating in clinical trials, only three percent of them will do so.

Women who participate not only make an extremely valuable contribution to scientific knowledge, they also gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available. With special training in the design and conduct of clinical trials, the clinical trial team at Wayne Memorial Hospital is ranked fourth in North Carolina for the number of clinical trials monitored.

That says a lot, considering the number of teaching centers surrounding us.

How do I know if I’m eligible for a clinical trial?

— Lori P., Goldsboro

Each study has its own eligibility criteria for who can participate. As researchers, our desire is to study participants who are similar in some key areas.

For example, a treatment trial may be for a particular type and stage of breast cancer, a particular age or for patients who have had previous treatments.