June 2nd is National Cancer Survivors Day. A day where we recognize those who have fought the long and difficult battle for life. This is a day where we can recognize and appreciate the survivors who are still with us after fighting the demon we all know as cancer. Anyone who has first-hand experience knows that both cancer and its treatment can be both physically and emotionally draining for the patient—but also for those closest to them. However, when it comes to the “big C”, perspective is everything.
A famous quote throughout the survivor community is the perfect example regarding perspective. As Stuart Scott said, “you beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
Paige Davis, a cancer survivor, wrote in a blog post for the official website of National Cancer Survivors Day, 5 lessons that she learned during her journey. Each of the lessons are important and connect with Scott’s quote very well. Davis’ 4th reason, “connection is key” states, “this is perhaps the most important lesson of this journey, the realization that we aren’t in it alone. It is our human condition to connect with others and to surround ourselves with people who inspire and support us."
Even as professionals in healthcare brand marketing and strategy, it can be easy to focus on the functional benefits of our oncologic agents (e.g. OS – overall survival, PFS – progression-free survival, DoR (durability of response)—especially when we are so close to compound.
These innovations and improvements are critical in being triumphant over cancer, but what reinforces our passion for what we do is the impact these benefits have on the emotions and mindset of a cancer patient, and everyone surrounding them on that journey. They are the catalyst to shifting one’s outlook and inspiring the perseverance to not just be alive, but to truly live. In our industry, the dichotomy of cancer’s destructive nature and these profound, yet often intangible, benefits are what continually fuels the advancement of cancer care.
Whether the brand you are responsible for is in oncology or another therapeutic area, the lesson is the same. We are living in an era where focusing only on what our medications can do on paper is a disservice to everything else these medications represent. As those building the story for each brand, we owe it to the patients, their loved ones, their HCPs, and even those responsible for developing the compound to always challenge ourselves to consider what these medications unlock and enable, beyond just clinical measures.
This Cancer Survivors Day take a moment to acknowledge the fact that each patient we serve is more than just a disease sufferer. They are more than just a statistic in epidemiology. They are someone’s parent, sibling, child, and friend…above all they are human.