Introduction by Celesta Cheo, Research Director, Public Relations Research
My favorite OTW blog post probably won’t be a surprise to anyone… and I should say my “few” favs because I’m thinking of the 4 that I wrote about an international project where we interviewed women with metastatic breast cancer in 9 countries. In fact, since those posts, we conducted the project in four more countries. (Fist pump!) My colleagues, our vendors, and our clients poured a lot of time, energy and care into this project – so it was extremely gratifying to create more visibility for the data, regardless of way, shape or form. From a resource and commitment perspective, it’s a true luxury to collect opinions from critically ill individuals around the world and to make such information available to health care professionals and policy makers. Here’s wishing for many more projects like this to come our way… Fingers crossed!
Original Post by Celesta Cheo, Research Director, Public Relations Research, July 28, 2009
The “pink ribbon” campaign for breast cancer is a prominent voice in Americans’ patient advocacy community and it has done a tremendous amount to help women in the U.S., and even globally, to deal with breast cancer. However, there has been, perhaps not surprisingly, less of a focus on women with advanced breast cancer.
Recently, I had the good fortune to work on a project to understand the experiences of women with Stage 4 breast cancer and help give them a voice. We interviewed about 100 women with metastatic breast cancer each in 9 countries – the U.S., Argentina, Mexico, Egypt, Poland, the UK, France, Spain, and Belgium. The courage and resilience of the women who participated in these interviews is astounding. Much success can also be attributed to a two-way relationship we built with the project’s client, the leadership of the key opinion leaders who provided guidance on methodology and design, and the flexibility and the expertise of our global partners on the ground. It was truly a team effort across all levels for a worthwhile cause.
This week, we want to share some valuable nuggets of information from these women, starting with access and usage of information. It was heartening to see that most women around the world actively seek more information about MBC, however information is not always easy to find and does not always address their needs – and the gaps are not always where you might think. For example:
- Most women (about 7 in 10) in the U.S., Argentina, and Mexico find it easy to locate information on metastatic breast cancer, but the reverse is true for women in the UK (29%), France (25%), and Spain (19%).
- Many women across the world feel the current information on MBC does not address their needs, especially Argentinean women (75%), but majorities of women in Poland (59%) and Spain (57%) also feel this way.
So, even in the face of a dire diagnosis, women are seeking information to cope with their condition. I cannot start to imagine how these women handle day to day life, and am moved by their courage and resiliency. I hope that the release of these results by our client will inspire patient organizations, hospitals, clinics, and healthcare professionals to continue in their efforts to provide women with the support they need and the information they are searching for.