How does the public feel about current cancer treatment? This is the question that the Lilly Oncology network, PACE (Patient Access to Cancer care Excellence), attempted to answer through a survey of the general public, cancer patients and caregivers. The results from their international survey will be published in the open access journal ecancermedicalscience, the journal from the IEO and OECI.
Phone calls and online questionnaires were used to survey over 4,300 individuals from six countries: the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. Questions ranged from personal concerns following a diagnosis of cancer to opinions on the cost of cancer medicines/treatments.
Although there were large differences between countries, some trends were observed. Half of the respondents felt satisfied with the progress that has been made in cancer care in the past 20 years, with higher levels of satisfaction being displayed by patients and caregivers as compared to the general public. Similarly, just 31% of the general public responders felt confident in the care provided by their health care systems while patients reported a 54% level of satisfaction. When asked about unmet needs in cancer care, financial impact and navigating treatment options topped the list.
The survey also revealed some misconceptions around cancer care. Many respondents were not aware of the nature of cancer (is it one disease or many different types?) and many also underestimated both the time and costs involved with the development of cancer medicines. Despite this underestimation, a majority of respondents felt that more should be invested in developing new medicines and treatments and that they should be made available even faster. This urgency highlights the importance and priority cancer treatment received from many respondents. Another noted dichotomy involved clinical trials. While most members of the general public would be willing to participate in a clinical trial if they were diagnosed with cancer, it was found that very few patients actually participate in trials for a number of different reasons, including inconvenience and costs.
The PACE group has called these baseline results the 'PACE Cancer Perceptions Index (2012)', and believes that these findings will serve as a useful starting point for future surveys. They hope the results will help to clarify patient attitudes, needs and priorities for stakeholders.