Cancer touches nearly every person walking the planet, whether it is as the loved one of a patient, or as a patient themselves. With so many lives impacted by the disease, the producers of a recent public survey were interested in gauging the public’s opinions about cancer research.
Among the findings:
- About 72% of the general public thinks more research is needed
- However, 53% of respondents admit they personally are unlikely to donate to the effort
To learn more, Outsourcing-Pharma checked in with report author Sean Marchese, registered nurse and writer at the Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
OSP: Could you please tell me a bit about this survey, who conducted it and contributed to it, the questions asked, and what you hoped or expected to find?
SM: There were two one-question surveys conducted as part of the research for this article. Both were conducted by the Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com in February 2022 using Google surveys.
Respondents were 18+ years old, English-speaking, and located in the US. Each survey had at least 1,000 respondents. Results were weighted to ensure an accurate representation of the total U.S. population. We asked the following questions (one per survey):
- Do you think more research on cancer technology is needed to adequately treat cancer?
- How likely are you to donate to cancer research in the next year?
As a cancer advocacy organization, our hope was that a higher percentage of people would donate to cancer research in the next year, but I wouldn’t say the difference between general support and monetary support was a surprise. The insights generated from these surveys highlight the importance of cancer research fundraising initiatives as well as increased education about the role any type of donation has in advancing cancer treatment.
OSP: Please share some of the most notable findings shared in the study, and what they might reveal about the state of cancer research.
SM: Our study found that most people agreed there is a need to further cancer research and improve existing technology. Cancer mortality is trending down, but certain medications and treatments have a long way to go before they can improve the quality of life for every patient. We see this concern, especially among younger adults, who are more willing to contribute to cancer research.
OSP: Specifically, could you please share detail on the dichotomy between the public’s support of cancer research and a significant reluctance to donate?
SM: Public support for cancer research initiatives is generally high, but where that funding comes from can be more ambiguous. A financial investment in research is a tough ask for many people, especially following hardships during the pandemic.
The reluctance to donate was highest among adults aged 35 to 44, perhaps highlighting more fiscal conservatism than younger adults who were more willing to donate. As people financially recover from the pandemic, I’m hopeful that donations to cancer research will increase. Still, there are many ways to raise awareness and advocacy, even without a financial component.
OSP: Please tell us about what the survey reveals about the history/evolution of cancer treatments.
SM: Cancer treatments have become increasingly personalized over the past few decades. Treatments now focus on a patient’s genetic makeup, specific cell type, and other individualized factors. These new therapies are relatively new, and a lack of awareness may contribute to whether someone believes there is a need to continue or increase cancer technology research.
I hope we can raise awareness about the benefits of these personalized treatments and encourage more people to support the research that led us to them so that we can further improve their safety and efficacy.
OSP: Then, what does the report have to say about new and emerging technologies?
SM: So many promising technologies start as an unproven theory in a laboratory, and it’s only through years of research, testing, and development that they finally make it to a cancer patient. Technologies such as nanomedicine and CAR T-cell therapy are still in their early days, but it’s an exciting time to consider how these treatments will change the face of medicine in a few years. Through awareness and advocacy of cancer research, we can help further these technologies and ensure they see the light of day, potentially in a future where we have a cure for cancer.
OSP: Do you have anything to add?
Every patient is unique, and cancer treatment means something different to everyone. We all benefit when we work towards the production of new life-saving technologies. My goal is to promote health education so that more people understand cancer research and how it can positively affect everybody.