Enhancing Access to Clinical Trials for Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Patients
Opyl CEO Michelle Gallaher in conversation with James Stewart, Head of Commercial at Pancare Foundation, discussing the evolving role of advocacy groups in patient communities and the importance of connecting health research.
In a recent episode of Opyl Pod, Michelle Gallaher, CEO of Opyl and founder of Opin.AI, interviewed James Stewart, Head of Commercial at Pancare Foundation, to discuss the evolving role of advocacy groups in patient communities and the importance of connecting health research. The conversation shed light on the challenges faced by patients with upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers and the critical role of clinical trials in providing hope and access to innovative treatments. This blog post summarises the key insights from the podcast and highlights the significance of improving awareness and access to clinical trials for the patient community.
Pancare Foundation is a national foundation in Australia that represents patients with upper GI cancers, including pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, biliary, and liver cancers. These cancers have low survival rates, and there has been limited progress in improving outcomes over the past four decades. Pancare Foundation aims to provide support services, including specialist nurses, counselling, dieticians, financial assistance, and access to tools to help patients and families navigate the challenges of these cancers. Additionally, the foundation funds research projects focused on early detection, optimal patient care, and novel therapies.
Clinical trials play a crucial role in providing hope and potential treatment options for patients with upper GI cancers. Access to clinical trials is particularly important because the standard treatments for these cancers have limited effectiveness. Clinical trials offer patients the opportunity to access experimental therapies and potentially improve their outcomes. However, accessing trials can be challenging due to various factors, including limited awareness, geographical barriers, language requirements, and misconceptions about travel and placebo-controlled trials.
The conversation highlighted the need for increased awareness among healthcare professionals and patients about available clinical trials for upper GI cancers. Healthcare practitioners in regional and rural areas, who cover multiple cancer types, may lack awareness of trial opportunities. Culturally and linguistically diverse patients, as well as elderly Australians, often face exclusion due to language and age-related barriers. Addressing these barriers requires comprehensive education and support programs to enhance awareness and empower patients to make informed decisions about participating in clinical trials.
Pancare Foundation and similar advocacy groups play a vital role in raising awareness about upper GI cancers and clinical trial opportunities. They provide support services to patients and their families, helping them navigate the complex journey of cancer treatment. Moreover, digital platforms and resources are crucial in improving access to information and connecting patients with clinical trials. By leveraging technology and increasing healthcare practitioner knowledge, it is possible to enhance patient awareness, improve access to trials, and attract investment from pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.
The podcast conversation with James Stewart from Pancare Foundation shed light on the challenges faced by patients with upper GI cancers and the importance of clinical trials in providing hope and access to innovative treatments. Enhancing awareness among healthcare professionals and patients, addressing geographical and language barriers, and leveraging digital platforms are crucial steps in improving access to clinical trials. By working collaboratively, advocacy groups, healthcare practitioners, and the research community can make significant strides in improving outcomes for patients with upper GI cancers and offering them a glimmer of hope in their fight against these aggressive diseases.