What Do We Mean When We Ask for More Metastatic Breast Cancer Research?

Main Article Content

Heather Douglas
Catherine Hays
Kimberly Badovinac

Keywords

Breast cancer, Metastasis, Research priorities, Patient engagement

Abstract

Background: Almost all deaths from breast cancer are due to metastasis. People living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and their loved ones have been concerned about the lack of research progress. The purposes of this paper were to analyze breast cancer research spending in Canada, and to evaluate whether MBC research was aligned with patient priorities. The results from the MBC Priority Setting Partnership (MBC PSP) were used as an approximation of patient priorities.
Methods: The data source was the Canadian Cancer Research Survey. MBC projects were identified and mapped to the patient priorities.
Results: This analysis found that 18% of breast cancer research investment was directed to MBC, with a large proportion of this research investment focused on the biology of metastasis. Four of the top 10 MBC PSP priorities had not been addressed: optimal sequence of therapy, role of continuous versus intermittent treatment, benefits of early palliative care, and best methods for patient education.
Conclusion: These figures provide a baseline from which any increases in MBC research and improved alignment to patient priorities can be measured. A cooperative effort by funders, researchers, patients, caregivers, and health care providers is needed to address research gaps.

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