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Associate Professor Catriona McNeil, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

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Put simply, clinical trials allow researchers, clinicians and patients to improve healthcare outcomes.I’m a Medical Oncologist so I support patients on their cancer journey. I specialise in breast and melanoma cancer, two of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia. The most challenging element of my job is explaining to a patient that we have run out of effective treatments.  Clinical Trials are imperative to ensure we can advance treatment options for our most needy, so those faced with a cancer diagnosis have an increased chance of survival.However, to improve future healthcare we need the trust and support of our current patients. I currently have patients on eight trials, all understand the importance of them but I always discuss the trial design, the pros and cons and the alternatives with them beforehand.Here at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, we have been fortunate to be involved in some genuinely practice-changing trials over the past few years. I have witnessed trial results translate into direct benefit for patients now and in the future, the most rewarding element of my job. Our clinical trials team are also very dedicated so I enjoy working with them.Trials allow us to try new treatments and evaluate if they outperform standard therapies. Further, they are what regulatory authorities’ base registration and funding decisions on, which ultimately influences drug access for patients.Being involved in clinical trials, whether you are a clinician or a patient, is a great opportunity to provide cutting edge care with a team focus in a sympathetic environment.