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Excerpt of an article by Research!America VP of Communications Suzanne Ffolkes and Communications Specialist Anna Briseno, published in Elsevier Connect.
A panel hosted by Research!America and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network discusses challenges and opportunities for advancing cancer research
Julie Fleshman’s journey to improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients was inspired by her father, who died four months after receiving the diagnosis. That was in 1999. Since then, she’s been advocating for research to support early diagnosis and better treatments.
“That passion drives me every day – anger mixed with hope and optimism of the future,” she said.
Thought leaders from industry, academia, health economics and patient advocacy discussed challenges and opportunities for advancing cancer research and the prospects for a future where cancers are rendered manageable or even eradicated. They examined various aspects of cancer research and patient advocacy from a regulatory, policy and clinical standpoint. They spoke of the challenges posed by regulatory barriers and the role of advocates in fostering medical innovation. And they said there was critical need for collaboration among all stakeholders – including representatives from pharma, medicine, academia, the government and patient organizations – to accelerate medical progress.
The event – called A World Free from Cancer: A Road Paved with Medical Innovation – was hosted by Research!America and PANCAN.
Fleshman began the discussion by talking about the rise of the patient advocate who plays “an extremely important role in helping to change outcomes and … raise the awareness in the public, which drives public and private dollars and moves Congress to action.”
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor, agreed. “Luck shouldn’t play a role in why I’m alive,” she said.
Dr. Amy Abernethy suggested that society should work toward better matching treatments and patients so resources aren’t wasted. She highlighted the need for extensive risk and benefit analysis to maximize opportunities for improved healthcare delivery.
MacCaskill agreed, noting it’s important for cancer patients to know what treatment options are available that best suit their needs. She said stakeholders need to work together to develop solutions that increase access.
Read the full article here.