TESARO, a biopharmaceutical company working on new cancer therapies, has launched a number of new resources and services for women living with ovarian cancer, as part of the expansion of its ‘Our Way Forward’ platform. The program was launched earlier this year featuring the results of a national survey that uncovered gaps in communication between patients and physicians.
The expanded website will now include a list of ovarian cancer educational programs and a special storytelling event with “The Moth,” a nonprofit group dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, this fall. Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller, a world-class gymnast, will join TESARO to help educate and empower the ovarian cancer community.
“As an ovarian cancer survivor, I am well aware of the anxiety and fear that goes along with an initial diagnosis, as well as the fear of recurrence even after treatment. It’s something that is always there,” Miller said in a press release. “That’s why I am thrilled to join TESARO to be a part of a program that directly addresses the unique challenges of women after an ovarian cancer diagnosis and those currently living with ovarian cancer.
“With ‘Our Way Forward,’ TESARO has demonstrated their commitment to women like me – and their families and caregivers – who are faced with the possibility of cancer returning. As new medicines become available to treat women living with recurrent ovarian cancer, programs to support women from an emotional and psychosocial standpoint remain equally critical.”
Miller will share her personal story, including the risks one still faces with ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment, on the new website.
The expanded website used the findings from the survey to develop informed resources and provide a call-to-action for patients, their families, and physicians to rethink how we talk about advanced, recurrent ovarian cancer. Content addresses the emotional support needs of the caregiver, self-care and empowerment tips for women at different moments of their personal ovarian cancer experience, and first-person perspectives from women living with the disease.
The ‘Our Way Forward’ survey was conducted online in the U.S. between April 13 and May 2, 2017. It included 254 adult women living in the U.S. who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A parallel survey was conducted between April 17 and May 5, 2017, among 232 physicians who treat ovarian cancer patients in the U.S., consisting of 201 medical oncologists and 31 gynecologic oncologists.
The survey revealed that around 53 percent of patients felt that the cancer had a severe or very severe impact on their lives. For patients who are currently in treatment or who have received treatment, about 49 percent admitted that they are not sure which path they should choose after diagnosis and that this is very or extremely challenging.
Moreover, more than two in five patients currently in treatment, or who have received treatment, find not knowing what to expect during treatment (46 percent) or after treatment (47 percent) very or extremely challenging.
It is common to experience recurrent disease after treatment (85 percent) and, despite high responses to chemotherapy, its effectiveness diminishes over time. Until recently, before maintenance treatments were available, after a response to platinum-based chemotherapy, women had limited treatment options that would delay progression of ovarian cancer. Maintenance treatments can extend patients’ time in remission and increase progression-free survival rates.
“As the ‘Our Way Forward’ survey indicated, we as a community still have a long way to go to meet the needs of women with ovarian cancer. As a company, we measure our success by the number of patients and their loved ones that we impact in a positive manner,” said Mary Lynne Hedley, PhD, president and chief operating officer at TESARO. “By offering expanded educational content that emerged from perspectives and experiences of patients, survivors and caregivers like Shannon, we are committed to addressing the physical and emotional challenges that ovarian cancer brings to women.”