Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 38

Conversation

CLINICAL TRIALS

Demystifying
Clinical Trials
There are many misconceptions about the process
of clinical trials and the eligibility of clinical trials. I
always assumed they were for patients who were stage
IV as the last treatment option. It never occurred to
me to think anything different. Over the summer,
I partnered with a clinical trial company called
Ancora.ai. They are a resource for all patients and
physicians to search for clinical trials that are vetted
using artificial intelligence.
The more I learned about clinical trials, the more I
wanted to share with others, especially those within
the AYA community. It opens another door of
possibility and treatment options in conjunction with
your current treatment.
Is it nerve-wracking
and uncertain? Yes, but
so is a cancer diagnosis.
It is so important to be
armed with knowledge
and clear away the
misconceptions about
clinical trials. In the
end, it could help save
your life or prolong
your quality of life. 
M E G A N C L A I R E C H A SE

38

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2020

I

can still feel the thick stillness of the
first time I stepped off the elevator
onto the fifth floor. How can a building where I have spent hundreds of
hours suddenly feel so foreign? I
scanned the room and took a deep, shaky
breath. My eyes landed on my husband,
Justin, I could tell he felt it too.
Everyone looked so sick.
Okay. It's a cancer center, people on
every f loor are sick. But this felt different. On the fourth f loor, where the gastrointestinal oncology unit had become
home, there is a constant f lurry. People
with all stages of GI cancer come in for
labs, appointments and treatment; but it
lacks the looming feeling of uncertainty
on f loor five.
On the fifth f loor: wheelchairs, oxygen
tanks and silver hair were everywhere.
Surely I had taken a wrong turn. I checked
in at the front desk. Nope, this is it: fifth
f loor, clinical trials. We found a seat and
joined in the silence.
The quiet of the waiting room was cut
by quick high-heeled footsteps. W ho
could be young enough to be walking that
quickly? It was one of the trial doctors!
Impulsively, I jumped up and called out
her name, she smiled and gave me a hug.
I was so happy to see a familiar face, my
eyes stung as I held back tears.
Seeing her reminded me why I was here:
there are brilliant people dedicating their
lives to cancer research. And I was about
to become one of the brave patients who
is doing the same. Together, professionals
and patients work to test novel ideas for
every aspect of the cancer experience.
This teamwork leads to new treatments,
improved quality of life, reduced side effects, better outcomes, and longer lives.
Suddenly, I felt a renewed sense of purpose, peace, hope, and courage.
I wasn't afraid.
Instead, I felt eager to join the team
and become part of something big. Yes,
the trial could save my life, but it could
also save thousands of others.
I posted on socia l media to tell my
survivor support community that today
was the big day. While we waited, love
and encouragement from cancer friends
all over the world rolled in; they were


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Elephants And Tea - December 2020

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Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
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