- Education and support are important to get and keep patients on appropriate therapy.
- New data show that many oncology patients have gaps in their knowledge of their condition, treatment and support services, and pharma has a big opportunity to help close them.
About one-third of patients, 34%, are unsure how advanced their cancer is. That same percentage lacked a substantial understanding of their treatment before starting it, according to Phreesia Life Sciences, which surveyed over 800 cancer patients earlier in 2022 as they checked in for their doctors’ appointments.
Only 35% could confidently say that they had genetic or biomarker testing, which is crucial to helping patients understand their disease and identify the therapy options best suited to their cancer.
Shubh Goel, VP and US franchise head of IO and GI tumors at AstraZeneca, said that understanding a cancer diagnosis and treatment plan is at the core of the patient experience, and not having the right information can have a negative impact adding that AstraZeneca sees the statistics as a challenge for the industry better.
That last piece is key, especially with patients showing broad interest in support programs and supporting resources being widely underused. Survey results show that only 15% of cancer patients have used a support program, and 46% of those who have never used a support program want either knowledge about treatment and side effects or data to help them better understand their cancer.
Goel said that patients are receptive to support programs, but if they don’t know about these programs or don’t know how to access them, they don’t get the same benefits. To get the word out, she recommends using simple, direct messaging that reflects cancer patients’ reality, helps to build health literacy, and focuses on inclusivity to better reach patients from different racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
She said that patients are highly empowered than ever because of the technology and social media platforms where they can find answers about their diseases and treatment.