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New online tool to hear lung cancer patients’ stories

Published on 29/10/13 at 08:02am
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The Global Lung Cancer Coalition and Boehringer Ingelheim have teamed-up to increase awareness of the challenges facing individuals and families living with lung cancer.

The online campaign ‘Lung Cancer: We’re Listening’ will gather feedback from those with the disease as well as carers, family members, friends, healthcare professionals and work colleagues.

“By gathering insights and listening to real-life experiences from those directly affected by lung cancer, we can increase our knowledge and understanding of the challenges faced by lung cancer patients,” said Dr Matthew Peters, chair of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC).

The collaboration follows just a few months after the privately-owned German firm gained approval for its first oncology product Gilotrif (afatinib), which can now be used in the US for patients with late-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumours express specific types of EGFR gene mutations.

Its second NSCLC drug nintedanib also impressed at the European Cancer Congress (ECC) in Amsterdam in September, as it was shown to extend life when added to chemotherapy in adenocarcinoma patients after prior first-line chemotherapy.

Lung cancer is not only the most common cancer in the world, accounting for 1.6 million new cancer cases each year, but it is also the biggest cancer killer.

And it has become clear in the last decade that lung cancer, like most solid tumours, is not just one disease but comes in many different genetic subtypes.

This means that pharma is producing more tailored approaches to treatment - such as with BI’s medicines - that can help improve patient outcomes.

But Boehringer says that there is still ‘a lack of understanding’ about the disease, and its impact on patients and those caring for them. It hopes that this campaign will create greater awareness around the disease, which should translate into more people being treated with drugs such as Gilotrif.

New ways of gauging information

“By learning more about their specific challenges with many topics, including relating to changes in roles and relationships, stigmatisation, and difficulty communicating with their healthcare team, the campaign will help to improve the support and information available to them,” the firm said in a statement.

The campaign adopts a new approach to gathering patient feedback by minimising the text-based feedback format and focussing on presenting the survey visually.

It works as an online tool and asks respondents to click on pre-defined graphics, symbols and elements within a web-based visual world to give their feedback on issues that are relevant to them.

The visual elements represent challenges and issues of importance in the lives of lung cancer patients and their caregivers and families. The graphics and symbols they select will reveal their most pressing issues and concerns, mirroring over time the lung cancer patient's real world agenda and experiences.

This approach is the first of its kind designed to ‘listen in’ on the real world of lung cancer patients, and bridge the gap between healthcare providers and their patients’ situations.

Results will be shared with the lung cancer community and the insights shared with those involved in providing patient services - including Boehringer - to aid the development of new programmes, services and educational materials.

The ‘Lung Cancer: We’re Listening’ website will launch in mid-November to coincide with Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Ben Adams

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