Kathleen Hayes is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with the disease back in June 1995 when she was 43 years old.
"I had a mastectomy. I did nine months of chemo. Then a month of radiation. After that I was on five years of tamoxifen which was standard follow up treatment at the time," says Hayes.
After going through treatment Hayes was eligible for a cancer study through Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.
She ended up being a participant in two national clinical trials over a 10-year period. For Hayes there's a simple reason why she choose to take part in the cancer research.
"I really feel like I'm alive because there are other people who participated in studies. That's how we came up with the chemo regimes we're using now," says Hayes
More importantly, she has a personal reason.
"This summer I lost a friend who got diagnosed the same time I was diagnosed with breast cancer and she's gone. I don't want that to happen to my nieces or women anywhere," says Hayes.
Pam Bergman, the Munson Medical Center cancer research coordinator says there are currently about 80 different clinical trials at Munson open for a variety of different types of cancers.
"Certainly breast cancer, lung, G.I. are the ones we see the most frequently so we have tendency to use those clinical trials," says Bergman.
For more than 30-years Munson has been a part of this national research with people like Hayes who volunteered to take part.
"We are hoping that the person who benefits most directly from the clinical trial is the participant, but they also realize we're going to gain valuable information for people who are treated in the future," says Bergman.
For more information about cancer research and a direct link to Munson Medical Center click here.