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Ideas

A New Conversation

A New Conversation

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

July 5, 2018

Discover the new wave of communication that’s harnessing the potential of the latest cancer treatments.

"Patient’s experience with cancer is changing and so is the way we assess it, categorize it, and talk about it."

There are more new cancer treatments available today than ever before. But many patients and caregivers—even healthcare professionals—are often not having the conversations needed to educate and support the community about these new, emerging treatment options.

Big Communication is a different way of providing understanding, support, and better outcomes for cancer patients. Havas Lynx Chief Executive David Hunt tells us how the team at Havas Lynx is helping make this happen.

 

How does the conversation about cancer and cancer treatments differ from times past?

The word cancer is an emotionally charged word. It’s one enemy that attacks many victims. It’s a disease that has touched many of our lives in some way or another. It can represent a long treatment process with harsh side effects—or, at its worst, the loss of life. But just as diseases evolve over time, so does the way we prevent, diagnose, and treat them.

Our fundamental understanding of cancer is changing. Cancer was historically defined and diagnosed by the place that it originated in the body. Communicating cancer in the past has been relatively simple: Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy are the expected treatments, and we all have expectations of the side-effects of those treatments.

We must now, however, transition to a personalized view of cancer, one where every patient’s tumor is as unique as the person. This poses an obvious challenge to healthcare professionals (HCPs). The traditional “see one, do one, teach one” model by which HCPs are taught is, clearly, no longer fit for purpose. HCPs need to be supported to handle the unpredictability that comes with cancer in today. They also need education on how the way that we understand cancer is fundamentally different to how we did even 10 or 15 years ago. Only when they gain that understanding will they be able to tap into the full potential of new emerging treatments.

And carers who play critical, and often unsung, roles in helping patients to navigate the complexity of cancer care must be informed on the complexity and uncertainty of the new treatments—and, of course, the new hope that these treatments bring.

How is Havas Lynx helping to make this happen?

At Havas Lynx, we are passionate about driving improvements across healthcare through communication.

SWITCHED ONcology is an initiative designed to encourage collaboration and communicate the latest developments in cancer care to multiple audiences.

As part of SWITCHED ONcology, we have created a community of patients, caregivers, and leading healthcare professionals. We have listened to their thoughts on the changing landscape of the cancer care continuum, identifying the challenges and seeking opportunities that would drive improvements across the pathway. In our white paper “The Big Communication” we present findings from global surveys, in-depth interviews with leaders in oncology, insights from focus groups and research to analyze the care continuum. We seek to bridge communication gaps for patients, HCPs, and carers to improve the cancer care pathway for all stakeholders.

Tell us about immunotherapy (IO)—how it’s changing cancer treatment, education, and conversation?

IO has broken the mold. Doctors currently are trained to suppress the immune system when treating cancer. But IO aims to harness that very thing that doctors are trained to fear—the body’s own immune system. This is a new world of cancer treatment, and as our white paper describes, it’s incredibly exciting.

But IO is still a story of two extremes. On one hand, we have the so-called supersurvivors, those who defy long-embedded prognostic expectations, whose tumors melt away to nothing thanks to the near miraculous effects of IO. But for every super survivor response, there are many more patients who do not respond at all. And there’s still no reliable way to predict who will respond.

Oncologists can learn from previous super survivor responses to look out for similarities between them. For those on the frontline treating cancer, IO brings a whole new level of excitement and opportunity—but also unprecedented complexity and uncertainty. For patients, the practicalities of their cancer treatments have changed. IO is shifting the fundamental realities of cancer treatment. Scans look different. Treatment schedules are unlike those of other treatments. And side-effects can range from the benign to the devastating.

IO marks not just a new age for oncology but an entirely new vision. New treatment standards require new communication standards. In short, in the era of IO, the Big C is now Big Communication.

"Communication has a vital role to play to ensure the benefits of the latest treatments developments are realized."

Can you elaborate on Big Communication?

For years, cancer has embedded itself in the public’s consciousness as a singular entity which draws in fear and uncertainty. It has always been deemed as one enemy: the “Big C.” But with the advent of new treatments such as immunotherapy revolutionizing cancer care, the days of the Big C are now slowly dissipating into a world where every patient is unique, where cancer is no longer deemed a death sentence.

With the advent of new treatment approaches, survival and quality of life for cancer patients is improving—science is shifting perceptions. Patient’s experience with cancer is changing and so is the way we assess it, categorize it, and talk about it. In this age of new treatments, we need to shatter preset expectations of what cancer is and discuss new treatments and what they mean for patients. We need to support all stakeholders as they undertake these new conversations. In short, communication has a vital role to play to ensure the benefits of the latest treatments developments are realized.

How does conversation support communities that want to talk about these new experiences with treatment?

More communication about IO will ultimately educate patients about these new and exciting treatments. As the medical community shares insights, it will be better prepared to deal with patients. Big Communication will empower patients, provide knowledge to healthcare professionals and much needed support for caregivers. IO may be a story of two extremes, the more insights we share about it, the more knowledge and understanding will support the evolution of treatments, for this and the next wave of patients.

Why is Big Communication a must-have, not a nice-to-have?

As we move into this new world of unprecedented hope and uncertainty in equal measure, healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers must be kept up-to-date on the advances of the cancer-care pathway. It’s vital that we use communication to break down barriers between scientists, HCPs, patients, and carers. Through communication we can empower patients, share knowledge among the medical community, and better support carers to ensure the benefits of the latest treatments are realized.

What’s next for the conversations within the healthcare industry, among patients and with caregivers?

Through our SWITCHED ONcology initiative we’ve established an incredibly strong network of people who are already leading the way in cancer treatment. This network continues to grow as we work to transform the cancer care pathway for patients, HCPs, and carers through communication. We continue to work, with our clients to shape cancer-care communications.

"Patient’s experience with cancer is changing and so is the way we assess it, categorize it, and talk about it."

There are more new cancer treatments available today than ever before. But many patients and caregivers—even healthcare professionals—are often not having the conversations needed to educate and support the community about these new, emerging treatment options.

Big Communication is a different way of providing understanding, support, and better outcomes for cancer patients. Havas Lynx Chief Executive David Hunt tells us how the team at Havas Lynx is helping make this happen.

 

How does the conversation about cancer and cancer treatments differ from times past?

The word cancer is an emotionally charged word. It’s one enemy that attacks many victims. It’s a disease that has touched many of our lives in some way or another. It can represent a long treatment process with harsh side effects—or, at its worst, the loss of life. But just as diseases evolve over time, so does the way we prevent, diagnose, and treat them.

Our fundamental understanding of cancer is changing. Cancer was historically defined and diagnosed by the place that it originated in the body. Communicating cancer in the past has been relatively simple: Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy are the expected treatments, and we all have expectations of the side-effects of those treatments.

We must now, however, transition to a personalized view of cancer, one where every patient’s tumor is as unique as the person. This poses an obvious challenge to healthcare professionals (HCPs). The traditional “see one, do one, teach one” model by which HCPs are taught is, clearly, no longer fit for purpose. HCPs need to be supported to handle the unpredictability that comes with cancer in today. They also need education on how the way that we understand cancer is fundamentally different to how we did even 10 or 15 years ago. Only when they gain that understanding will they be able to tap into the full potential of new emerging treatments.

And carers who play critical, and often unsung, roles in helping patients to navigate the complexity of cancer care must be informed on the complexity and uncertainty of the new treatments—and, of course, the new hope that these treatments bring.

How is Havas Lynx helping to make this happen?

At Havas Lynx, we are passionate about driving improvements across healthcare through communication.

SWITCHED ONcology is an initiative designed to encourage collaboration and communicate the latest developments in cancer care to multiple audiences.

As part of SWITCHED ONcology, we have created a community of patients, caregivers, and leading healthcare professionals. We have listened to their thoughts on the changing landscape of the cancer care continuum, identifying the challenges and seeking opportunities that would drive improvements across the pathway. In our white paper “The Big Communication” we present findings from global surveys, in-depth interviews with leaders in oncology, insights from focus groups and research to analyze the care continuum. We seek to bridge communication gaps for patients, HCPs, and carers to improve the cancer care pathway for all stakeholders.

Tell us about immunotherapy (IO)—how it’s changing cancer treatment, education, and conversation?

IO has broken the mold. Doctors currently are trained to suppress the immune system when treating cancer. But IO aims to harness that very thing that doctors are trained to fear—the body’s own immune system. This is a new world of cancer treatment, and as our white paper describes, it’s incredibly exciting.

But IO is still a story of two extremes. On one hand, we have the so-called supersurvivors, those who defy long-embedded prognostic expectations, whose tumors melt away to nothing thanks to the near miraculous effects of IO. But for every super survivor response, there are many more patients who do not respond at all. And there’s still no reliable way to predict who will respond.

Oncologists can learn from previous super survivor responses to look out for similarities between them. For those on the frontline treating cancer, IO brings a whole new level of excitement and opportunity—but also unprecedented complexity and uncertainty. For patients, the practicalities of their cancer treatments have changed. IO is shifting the fundamental realities of cancer treatment. Scans look different. Treatment schedules are unlike those of other treatments. And side-effects can range from the benign to the devastating.

IO marks not just a new age for oncology but an entirely new vision. New treatment standards require new communication standards. In short, in the era of IO, the Big C is now Big Communication.

"Communication has a vital role to play to ensure the benefits of the latest treatments developments are realized."

Can you elaborate on Big Communication?

For years, cancer has embedded itself in the public’s consciousness as a singular entity which draws in fear and uncertainty. It has always been deemed as one enemy: the “Big C.” But with the advent of new treatments such as immunotherapy revolutionizing cancer care, the days of the Big C are now slowly dissipating into a world where every patient is unique, where cancer is no longer deemed a death sentence.

With the advent of new treatment approaches, survival and quality of life for cancer patients is improving—science is shifting perceptions. Patient’s experience with cancer is changing and so is the way we assess it, categorize it, and talk about it. In this age of new treatments, we need to shatter preset expectations of what cancer is and discuss new treatments and what they mean for patients. We need to support all stakeholders as they undertake these new conversations. In short, communication has a vital role to play to ensure the benefits of the latest treatments developments are realized.

How does conversation support communities that want to talk about these new experiences with treatment?

More communication about IO will ultimately educate patients about these new and exciting treatments. As the medical community shares insights, it will be better prepared to deal with patients. Big Communication will empower patients, provide knowledge to healthcare professionals and much needed support for caregivers. IO may be a story of two extremes, the more insights we share about it, the more knowledge and understanding will support the evolution of treatments, for this and the next wave of patients.

Why is Big Communication a must-have, not a nice-to-have?

As we move into this new world of unprecedented hope and uncertainty in equal measure, healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers must be kept up-to-date on the advances of the cancer-care pathway. It’s vital that we use communication to break down barriers between scientists, HCPs, patients, and carers. Through communication we can empower patients, share knowledge among the medical community, and better support carers to ensure the benefits of the latest treatments are realized.

What’s next for the conversations within the healthcare industry, among patients and with caregivers?

Through our SWITCHED ONcology initiative we’ve established an incredibly strong network of people who are already leading the way in cancer treatment. This network continues to grow as we work to transform the cancer care pathway for patients, HCPs, and carers through communication. We continue to work, with our clients to shape cancer-care communications.

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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