6 Challenges We Uncovered from Liz Szabo’s #CancerHype Twitter Chat

 In Advocacy Relations, Influencer Relations, Social Media, Stakeholder Engagement

With the authorization of $1.8 billion in funding for the Cancer Moonshot over 7 years, we’ve seen both hope and hype around how we accelerate cancer research to make more treatments available to more patients – ultimately preventing cancer and saving lives.

This week, Kaiser Health News’ Liz Szabo hosted a #CancerHype Twitter chat, as part of her Treating Cancer series, to hear directly from patients, advocates, providers and researchers – “Do new cancer treatments provide hope or hype?”

Thanks to our JPA Labs masterminds, who mined the data using NodeXL, we are here to share the six cancer care challenges we face to make it to the “moon.” (Check out the awesome chart that we generated too!)

  1. Value is subjective. Most agree measuring the value of care needs to be defined through the lens of the patient. But what value means for longevity and quality of life is questionable and dependent on the opinions of the patients, providers and researchers involved.
  2. Financial toxicity is the word. How much a patient pays/owes and how much the costs affect a patient’s lifestyle and well-being is at the crux of every care decision. More patient navigators are needed to overcome obstacles to care, including access and affordability.
  3. Modern medicine is a conundrum. We’re in an era of more promising cancer therapies in the pipeline than ever before in history, but it’s unclear how we determine if a new treatment is successful.
  4. Words matter. There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with cancer. Words like cure, breakthrough and revolutionary hinder patient education and trust during their care journey.
  5. The good ole’ ‘big data’. There is a consistent hope for more and better data, but we need a more concerted effort to help all stakeholders (patients, providers and researchers) understand the data to inform cancer care decisions.
  6. Lack of transparency disrupts progress. Patients lacking clarity about how to access and understand the pros and cons of clinical trials as well as what is included in the FDA drug approval process also impacts patient trust and decision-making.

While it is important to understand cancer hype and hope, the healthcare community – advocates, researchers, providers, innovators – needs to come together with patients to advance solutions for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.