Colorectal Cancer Canada (CCC) developed a pan-tumour survey aimed to assess the needs and gaps in Canadian personalized medicine by gathering the first Canadian-specific data on patients’ and caregivers' experiences with biomarker testing (BT) in cancer treatment centres across the country.
The online survey was created using Survey Monkey and disseminated to Canadian cancer patients and caregivers in February 2021. Respondents were asked to answer questions related to their knowledge and awareness of, experience with, difficulties with, and value of BT. Data were collected in Excel format and analyzed using descriptive statistics in May 2021. This research was funded by sponsorships granted to CCC’s Get Personal program.
The survey sample consisted of 128 respondents from across Canada with representation from all provinces and one territory. Among all survey respondents, 69.1% said they were unaware that biomarkers could help determine the best treatment for them when they were diagnosed. Moreover, only 16.0% said their physician explained BT before their treatment started. These findings were reflected in the revelation that only 26.6% of survey respondents received BT; among these respondents, 0.0% received targeted therapy or immunotherapy before receiving BT which rose to 23.5% after testing. Overall, 55.9% of respondents who received BT felt that it helped them find the right personalized treatment. Further, 76.5% of survey respondents who received BT expect that the test results will increase their overall survival and 55.9% expect they will improve their quality of life. Lastly, the most common difficulties with access to BT experienced by survey respondents include lack of awareness (20.6%), lack of availability (14.7%), and lack of access to a clinical trial for their biomarker (11.8%).
In conclusion, the survey results suggest that there is major lack of education on BT, as well as inequitable access to BT which varies by tumour site and by province, implicating the need for increased advocacy and awareness because: 1) BT unlocks targeted treatment options for cancer patients at diagnosis, and 2) targeted treatments have the potential to increase patients’ overall survival and improve their quality of life.
Legal entity responsible for the study
Colorectal Cancer Canada.
Amgen, Bayer, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Taiho Oncology, Bristol Myers Squibb, Janssen-Johnson & Johnson.
M. El Bizri, L. Sukkarieh, B. Stein: Financial Interests, Institutional, Other: Funding from most major pharmaceutical companies in Canada who are engaged in oncology.