Closing the Gap in Cancer Care
Closing the Gap in Cancer Care
My calling in life is to help people with cancer – and I can trace it all the way back to my 12-year-old self. That was the year my wonderful grandmother – the inspiration for my career in medicine – was taken from us by metastatic breast cancer. She was a force in our family, a woman who loved taking care of us and caring for her patients as a nurse for 40 years. Losing her was devastating and changed the course of my life, putting me on the path to a career in medicine so I could try to find ways to help people like her. I spent two decades practicing as a medical oncologist, and the experiences I’ve had with each patient along the way inspire me every day to provide better therapies to patients battling cancer.
Since entering the healthcare field, I’ve witnessed the steady march of science and the exciting progress in diagnosing and treating cancer1. These advances are helping patients live longer, and I’ve seen many families benefit from them, including my own2. When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer – more than twenty years after my grandmother – she was able to overcome her early-stage disease. This is what I wish for everyone diagnosed with cancer, and with each medical advance, we move closer to this goal.
We still have important work to do. Cancer remains a formidable foe, and longstanding inequities and care gaps prevent many around the world from receiving the support they need.
We must work together to close the gaps: expanding access to cancer screening, treatment and support and improving education so people with cancer have essential information to make decisions about their care. My colleagues and I are working to do this with key partners and groups across the community.
Uniting Our Voices and Taking Action Through Partnership
With leaders in the global oncology community, we unite our voices and take actions to achieve bold goals for people with cancer.
- The Union for International Cancer Control’s (UICC) Breast Cancer Programme aims to reduce premature deaths from breast cancer and improve quality of life for people diagnosed with the disease. The Programme supports developing countries by giving a voice to breast cancer patients, strengthening advocacy and providing local patient education, resources and access to care.
- Susan G. Komen’s Stand for H.E.R., a “Health Equity Revolution,” collaborates with Black communities, policymakers, researchers and other key stakeholders to help create a world without inequities and where Black people have the same chances of surviving breast cancer as anyone else.
- The Tigerlily Foundation leads similar efforts, including its Inclusion Pledge, to join the voices of those committed to helping advance health equity for Black women.
- LUNGevity Foundation’s No One Missed campaign drives critical conversations and provides patient education on the importance of comprehensive biomarker testing in making treatment decisions.
Applying What We Learn
Raising our voices, applying learnings and taking action: these are the surest steps to close the critical gaps in cancer care. By combining our efforts with others across the global oncology community, we are well-positioned to help patients – but we must also seek opportunities to learn from them as well.
To help all our colleagues across Daiichi Sankyo gain important insights that influence the way we approach our work, we launched the In Their Shoes program. In Their Shoes creates opportunities for people diagnosed with cancer to share with us the realities of their unique cancer experiences and the care gaps or struggles they’ve each encountered. These insights help guide our search for solutions and fuel our scientific innovation and patient support. We believe that each of us at Daiichi Sankyo has an opportunity and a responsibility to have a positive impact on patients, and we apply what we learn from the patients who share what it’s like In Their Shoes to the work we do every day.
1National Cancer Institute. Advances in Breast Cancer Research. Accessed January 2023.
2 Nardin, S et al. Front Oncol. 2020; 10:864.
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