More clinical trials bring Valley cancer patients fresh hope

Aug 18, 2015, 12:04 PM | Updated: Aug 19, 2015, 3:25 pm

More than 16 million people visit Arizona each year to relax and escape cold weather. But starting August 24, The University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center will give people even more reason to love the Valley of the Sun.

The date marks the opening of the new University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The collaboration between the University of Arizona Cancer Center and Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center will bring significantly more clinical trials to Phoenix-area cancer sufferers and survivors.

Clinical trials can grant access to new and possibly life-saving treatments from leading medical experts, especially for patients who have recurrent disease or rare tumor types

“The only way that we improve the success rates is by doing clinical trials,” says Peter Lance, MD, medical director of The University of Arizona Clinical Research Unit and interim deputy director of The University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s.

Dignity-Health If you are considering a clinical trial, here are some questions you must ask your Medical Team to get started:

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • What other options or choices do I have if I decide not to participate?
  • What tests and treatments does the study involve?
  • What are the short- and long-term side effects, risks and benefits of this trial?
  • How do these compare to my current treatments?
  • What type of long-term follow up care is part of the study?
  • Who will pay for the treatment and all other expenses related to the study?
  • How can I end my participation in the study if I change my mind?
  • Whom do I contact for questions and information about the study?

The National Cancer Institute’s goal is to enroll at least 10 percent of all newly diagnosed patients in a clinical trial. For the new cancer center in Phoenix, the goal is that every cancer patient is a candidate for clinical trials.

The National Cancer Institute says, “Trials are available for all stages of cancer. It is a myth that they are only for people who have advanced cancer that is not responding to treatment.”

Advanced stage lung cancer is one example of trials available.

“In advanced lung cancer the new generation of studies focuses on precision medicine – the development of medications based on the genetic composition of the individual’s tumor – and on immunotherapy,” says Panos Fidias, MD, section leader of the thoracic program at the center. “The University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s will have trials available in both of these new areas.”

Breast and lung cancer are just a few of the trials made available. The Tucson site currently has well over 100 trials open to new patients, addressing all the major cancers.

It is important to be fully informed on all aspects of the clinical trial process. Understanding the process and speaking with a Nurse Navigator is an important part of the overall health and long term adherence to the program.

Dignity HealthFor more information about the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, please visit

Dignity Health


The Concussion Discussion: Understanding the risks facing today’s athletes

We have entered an age of enlightenment on the topic of concussions. Advancements in technology and research have changed the game for everyone, from the high-stakes world of professional athletes to youth sports staged on the grass-roots level. Concussions are no longer marginalized.  The dangers and long-term consequences of brain trauma can no longer be […]
4 years ago
summer vacation, holidays, friendship and people concept - close up of smiling young women in sungl...
Flint Stephens, Writer for Brandforge

Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides

With some of the nation’s hottest and brightest sunshine, Arizona is near the top when it comes to skin cancer rates, and Arizonans should take particular care against sun exposure. In Arizona, 18.8 people per 100,000 developed melanoma skin cancer in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Centers for […]
5 years ago
Flint Stephens, Writer for Brandforge

Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival

The Human Genome Project was a 13-year-long, publicly funded project initiated in 1990 to determine the entire DNA sequence of the human genome. While the Project was declared complete in April, 2003 the advancements of genetic testing continues to evolve. The sequencing of the human genome holds benefits for many fields such as forensic science, […]
6 years ago
Flint Stephens, Writer for Brandforge

Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors

Despite ongoing efforts to find a cure, it is estimated over 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never welcome news. Fortunately, even with the number of breast cancer patients on the rise, the number of survivors are also rising, giving hope to women everywhere. In fact, […]
6 years ago
Flint Stephens, Writer for Brandforge

Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death and the third most common form of cancer among men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to an article about American Cancer Society guidelines, behaviors such as avoiding exposure to tobacco products, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active throughout life and […]
6 years ago
Rachel Harris, Health Contributor for Brandforge

The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise

Where does cancer come from, and how can it be avoided? This is a question scientists are trying hard to answer. But oral cancers that occur in the head and neck are on the rise and the root of the cause is not what you might think. Oropharyngeal cancers happen in the throat and mouth, or pharynx. Tobacco […]
6 years ago
More clinical trials bring Valley cancer patients fresh hope