Knowledge is Power – The Importance of Biomarker Testing and Learning From Each Other

Knowledge is Power – The Importance of Biomarker Testing and Learning From Each Other

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is synonymous with education and exchanging information about the disease, its impact and ways to detect and manage it. The month is an important time to help people along their cancer journey, and the educational resources developed in recent years have potentially contributed to improved outcomes for many patients with breast cancer.

This BCAM, we are working to amplify the awareness-building efforts of the advocacy community while turning the education and information lens on a vital aspect of the breast cancer journey: biomarker testing. It is used to help detect cancer, may predict how fast it will grow and spread and can help doctors identify the best treatment for a patient or monitor their response to a therapy.[1]

Despite its important role in identifying and predicting cancer, it is striking how few people undergo biomarker testing. According to a 2019 survey from our advocacy partners Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Facing Hereditary Cancer EMPOWERED (FORCE), only about 25% of the 648 respondents with breast cancer indicated they received a prognostic or biomarker test.[2]

“There has been incredible progress in the development of more precise treatments for breast cancer, but unless we can ensure biomarker testing is more consistently utilized, their full therapeutic potential will not be reached,” said Mary Pinder-Schenck, MD, Vice President, Head Global Medical Affairs Oncology. “As our team at Daiichi Sankyo works to help change the standard of care in breast cancer, we must also use our platform to raise awareness of this important screening tool, which has the power to not only uncover the presence of cancer, but also the appropriate course of treatment.”

Sharing Stories to Reduce Confusion

Biomarker testing might seem be confusing or intimidating for some patients. Others may not have access to testing due to cost or lack of insurance coverage. As part of our effort to elevate biomarker testing education, our advocacy team connected with patients to understand their perspectives on testing and the role these barriers may have played in their respective journeys.

Irasema, a young woman impacted by both gastric and breast cancer, shares what she wants others like her to know about the test.

“When I was first diagnosed with gastric cancer, I was skittish about biomarker testing and unsure of the benefits that would come with it, especially when I was so anxious to get treated as quickly as possible,” said Irasema. “But it proved useful, as the findings not only taught me about my specific cancer, but helped me become more comfortable talking with my care team about my disease. When I was later diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, I was much more proactive, and had a conversation with my doctor right away to make sure biomarker testing was part of our plan. I share my story with the hope that others like me remember that even when things seem overwhelming, knowledge is power.”

Supporting Biomarker Testing Awareness Efforts this Month…and Beyond

Education is a vital part of the work we do with the breast cancer community, including our advocacy partners and patients, and will continue to help guide us in our efforts on behalf of people living with breast cancer around the world.  

Everything we do at Daiichi Sankyo is focused on the compassion we have for patients, including the platform we provide to patients to discuss their experiences,” said Gissoo DeCotiis, Global Head of Advocacy & Professional Relations, Global Oncology Medical Affairs, Daiichi Sankyo. “The sharing of stories can help educate others as we all work together to help improve patient outcomes.”

If you’re interested in learning more, follow us on Twitter as we share additional stories – like Irasema’s – as well as valuable educational resources on biomarker testing from our advocacy partners.

PP-US-ON-1511 10/21

[1] National Cancer Institute. Biomarker Testing for Cancer Treatment Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/biomarker-testing-cancer-treatment. Last accessed September 2021.
[2] Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer Patients Need More Information on Precision Medicine, Tumor Testing and Genetics. Available at: