Profiles of Prevention Study Participants
Below are five women who participated in the first Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT), the Study of Tamoxifen or Raloxifene (STAR),
or in both studies. Here they share their reasons for participating in these studies and why clinical trials are so important to them.
Grace del Castillo, Miami, Florida
Grace became interested in STAR the minute she read an article about it in a local
newspaper. Her younger sister had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and had just
completed her chemotherapy. Having seen the physical as well as the emotional effects of
this horrible disease, she knows the important role that research plays in the fight to
eliminate breast cancer. She feels that STAR has given her the opportunity of having an
active part in the prevention of breast cancer, and she is very interested in spreading
the word about STAR, especially among Hispanic women.
Nancy Gent, St. Louis, Missouri
"[Nancy] entered STAR based upon her primary goal in life... to help others," says
her STAR coordinator, Marian Wuest. Breast cancer had developed in both her mother
and one of her sisters, which increased her desire to contribute to the research that might finally
defeat this disease that devastates so many families. As a retired medical records
administrator, "she passionately believes that medical science cannot progress without
[clinical trials]." Before she entered the STAR trial, she volunteered for and
participated in many other clinical trials, both at the University of California at San Diego
and at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, as well as at several medical
research facilities in the St. Louis area.
Arlene Stevens, Silver Spring, Maryland|
Arlene, a native New Yorker, lived on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands for 23 years, where she knew many cancer victims
and lost many friends. She has atypical hyperplasia, which motivates her to make a special effort to keep informed about
health and breast cancer issues. Before joining STAR, she was reluctant to give up her hormonal therapy, but then, she says,
"that became secondary to being involved, doing something that just might ensure my daughter, daughter-in-law and two
granddaughters a future free of breast cancer."
Jackie Thomas, Issaquah, Washington|
Hello! My name is Jackie Thomas. My mother and her sister both had breast cancer.
I began yearly mammograms at age 35. At 37, I had my first cancer scare. I felt so powerless
and ignorant, I vowed to learn all I could about breast cancer. I was lucky
then, but wanted to be prepared for "next time." I was actively looking for an
opportunity to be involved in the fight against breast cancer when the Breast
Cancer Prevention Trial came along. I supported that trial in every way
I could. It was a tremendously positive and empowering experience. Now eligible for
the STAR trial, I am so pleased to be participating in the search for answers and for more
options for women.
Lonnie Williams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I was one of the first women to sign up for STAR, because my daughter, 35, was diagnosed
with breast cancer while she was still in her medical residency and had a 5-month old baby
at home. Until then, I hadnít been aware of how many young women got breast cancer and
how devastating it was to the family. My daughter died in 1996 at the age of 42 of
metastatic breast cancer. That is much too young to die. I was even more deeply committed
to STAR after her death. It is so important that we do something to prevent this from
happening to our young women. I still have one daughter and one granddaughter about
whom I am very concerned. If some way can be found to prevent this disease, I want to
be part of it.
This Web site is a product of the
National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel