A Legacy for the Future
Wanda Bowen is taking steps to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Her mother survived breast cancer, but her sister died of the disease two years ago.
Wanda, on the right, along with daughter, Natalie, and new granddaughter, Sophia.
Bowen has had two breast biopsies and a lumpectomy as a result of lumps found in her Executive Health Program exams.. Everything thus far has been benign, but the presence of possible precancerous cells spurred her to volunteer for a clinical trial designed for postmenopausal women at high risk of developing breast cancer..
Bowen was an early participant in Mayo Clinic’s STAR Study, which began in 1999. STAR stands for the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene. The study compares the effectiveness of each drug in preventing breast cancer, as well as the side effects.
Bowen and her husband, Robert, have participated in Mayo’s Executive Health Program for the past 10 years. They started in Rochester and continued in Scottsdale when they moved to Arizona in 1996.
“I feel I am being monitored very closely, which is reassuring,” says Bowen. “The Executive Health Program and the care through the clinical trial have both been great. Everyone seems so organized and efficient. I feel confident that if anything shows up, they will find it.”
As a participant in the STAR Study, Bowen is seen twice a year by an oncologist and has an annual mammogram, gynecologic exam and lab work. Her health will continue to be monitored even beyond the end of the five-year study, which closes this summer.
According to Lynn Boyer, RN, clinical research coordinator, people choose to participate in clinical trials for a number of reasons. “For one thing, you know your health is being very closely monitored,” she says. “For another, you know you’re going to be helping future generations. For those of us who’ve seen parents and grandparents suffer from cancer, it’s a great legacy to try to keep us and our children from the same fate.”
Bowen couldn’t agree more, especially now that she has a baby granddaughter, Sophia. “Because of my history, I’m very concerned about my daughter, my nieces and now my granddaughter,” she says. “I’ve told them all that this is something to be aware of and that early detection is critical, especially when you’re at high risk. Having my health closely monitored has just become habit.”
Mayo Clinic conducts hundreds of clinical trials each year. For a listing, see Mayo Clinic’s research site (opens in new window). If you’re interested in participating, talk to your physician for more information.
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