Real-world productivity of advanced gastric cancer patients

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Published: 10 Sep 2017
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Dr Marta Contente - Bristol-Myers Squibb, Uxbridge, UK

Dr Contente speaks with ecancer at the ESMO 2017 Congress saying that advanced gastric cancer is associated with productivity loss for both patients and caregivers, significant healthcare resource utilisation, and meaningful reductions in patients’ quality of life.

She goes on to say that novel treatment options are needed to reduce the overall burden of this disease. 

Advanced gastric cancer, as you may know, is an important disease as it affects a lot of people around the world. It is the fifth cancer in terms of prevalence so, as you may imagine, this has a huge impact in terms of society burden. On top of this, for the third line setting there are no treatments or there are no guidelines to treat those patients which leads us to the point that we need to better understand on one hand the prevalence and on the other hand the lack of treatment, how this was impacting the burden of the disease and the impact on society.

So what we have done was to collect information on a pool of patients and we are speaking about more than 2,000 patients that were interviewed on this research. On this particular poster we are focussing on 724 questioners that are the ones corresponding to those third line setting that I just mentioned. Also, of those, 248 patients also fulfilled a quality of life questionnaire. So on this project you can see information about productivity of patients, the impact also on the caregivers that support those patients and in parallel some information about healthcare resource utilisation and also on the quality of life of the patients.

To give you an idea and putting this a little bit into perspective, we just realised with this research that three in four patients are not able to work. They are on sick leave or they are retired or they are unemployed but we are speaking about 74% of all the patients in the third line setting of advanced gastric cancer. Of those 30% are unable to work due to the disease and you may see how impactful this is. At the same time, and you have seen in the poster, 40% of those need caregiver support and this caregiver is on average around 50 hours a week of support. It’s a huge amount of care that is required. Most of the time, in 76% of the cases, this support is provided by family, by close family – relatives or spouses – who are also unable to work to take care of those. So we collected information that 82% of the caregivers are not able to work to look after their loved ones. This has a tremendous impact in terms of families, not only their income but also the wellbeing. Sometimes we are not just speaking about work and about the income that comes directly from the work, we are speaking about the daily life that is affected. So if you are unable to look after your grandchildren, if you are unable to do your laundry, your gardening, take care of your house, psychologically you’ll be affected and this is crucial in terms of impact on everyone’s life. This is all about families, this is all about caregivers, this is about the patient themselves that really needs to have more support from society.

As BMS we really believe that it’s important that the clinical, the pharmaceutical and also the advocacy groups, that everyone works together to find new programmes that can, in a certain way, support those families and get more ways to overcome and to lower the burden of the disease.

We know that there are some limitations on our study because this is a questionnaire that is answered by the patient. It’s not a clinical trial so they can opt not to reply to it. So if we assume that the ones that are worst in terms of condition are psychologically affected and are not able to fulfil the questionnaire so we assume that the results, if everyone was replying, they could even be lower than what we have seen. The difference between the patients with the disease and the normal population would be bigger than what was seen.

So it’s important to minimise this. We need new drugs coming to the market, it’s really important to have it, and we also need programmes to support the families with the daily difficulties and within the limitations that are caused by the disease.

That covers my next question so I think that’s all I’ve got to ask. Is there anything else that we didn’t mention?

I think we have mentioned everything. We are committed to work… BMS is already leading some conversations with other stakeholders in order to, in a certain way, to develop programmes and to create things that are feasible in each country. The needs and also the possibilities of implementing studies is also different around countries and we need to really find what can be helpful and how can we support the families.