By Jazz Pharmaceuticals
Cancer Support Community
MDS Foundation, Inc.
Blood cancers are among the most common cancers in the U.S.1 How common? In this country, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every three minutes.2 The importance of early diagnostic testing is often emphasized with blood diseases and cancers, and rightfully so. However, an accurate diagnosis is only one part of the equation. Without being provided with adequate education following a diagnosis, patients can be unaware that certain blood diseases can eventually progress to cancers like secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML), and that lack of awareness may prevent them from noticing the signs of progression.3
When it comes to patient support, having access to different resources is important
When people are faced with worsening of their disease, it can be a confusing and overwhelming time. Words like “isolated,” “helpless,” and “defeated” are often used to describe how they feel, and many are unable to take greater control of the challenges that lay ahead, from treatment decisions to the emotional and psychological impacts of care.
Ideally, patient support should come from many disciplines and include input from healthcare professionals, care teams, patient advocacy organizations and, of course, the patient and their caregiver, as each has an important role to play. It is through these connections and partnerships that patients can find the education and support they critically need and become empowered to be their own strongest advocates.
Recently, several organizations have demonstrated the impact multisectoral partnerships can have by creating a unique resource, Find the Right Fit, that provides sAML patients and their caregivers access to the educational and emotional support resources they need upon receiving a diagnosis.
Partnerships between pharma and advocacy groups can help empower and educate patients
While the risk of progression may well have been presented to patients with certain blood diseases at some point in time, ultimately receiving that sAML diagnosis can still come as a surprise to many. This is where partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry and advocacy community can step in to bridge that gap in understanding. By coming together to support healthcare professionals in their efforts to educate patients about sAML, we ultimately encourage and empower patients, and their caregivers, to seek out more information and resources to inform their care.
By encouraging shared decision making and ensuring they have the right information and resources, doctors give their patients a voice when it comes to their treatment and care and, as important, empower them to be prepared.
Since patients and caregivers don’t always know what questions to ask, they can be better equipped to take on a more active role and truly partner with their healthcare team when provided the appropriate education. By encouraging shared decision making and ensuring they have the right information and resources, doctors give their patients a voice when it comes to their treatment and care and, as important, empower them to be prepared.
This is where Find the Right Fit – an innovative initiative developed by Jazz Pharmaceuticals with consultation from Cancer Support Community and MDS Foundation, Inc. – comes into play by providing the foundational knowledge, and motivation, to be an active agent in one’s own care team. On this site, patients and caregivers can find inspiration from the stories of others who have lived with sAML, as well as access to valuable education resources and tools that can help inform their care paths.
During Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September, we recognize the medical advances that have been made to positively impact the lives of people living with these cancers. It’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness about the power and impact of partnerships to advance educational efforts, like our education program for sAML, and how working together can make a real difference for patients and caregivers.
1 National Cancer Institute. Common Cancer Types. https://www.cancer.gov/types/common-cancers. Updated April 22, 2021. Accessed August 26, 2021.
2 Stoller R. 7 Facts You Need to Know About Blood Cancers. National Foundation for Cancer Research. September 29, 2020. https://www.nfcr.org/blog/7-facts-need-know-blood-cancers/. Accessed August 26, 2021.
3 National Cancer Institute. Adult acute myeloid leukemia treatment (PDQ®) – patient version. https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/adult-aml-treatment-pdq. Updated March 6, 2020. Accessed May 13, 2020.
©2021 Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.