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Home » Women's healthcare » Why we need crucial conversations in breast cancer

Marie-Andrée Gamache

Country President, Novartis UK & Ireland

Crucial conversations on a range of subjects between patients and healthcare professionals are critical in breast cancer care.

During a patient’s breast cancer journey, crucial discussions with their healthcare team do not always take place.

“These might include an honest conversation with a secondary breast cancer patient about issues with intimacy or menopause, a discussion about biomarker testing or between healthcare professionals about a particular patient’s care” says Marie-Andrée Gamache, who is Country President for pharmaceutical company, Novartis, in the UK and Ireland.

Better outcomes

Gamache acknowledges that these ‘crucial conversations’ also extend to the life sciences industry and the healthcare system on ways to work together for better patient outcomes in the breast cancer space, particularly for secondary breast cancer that has spread elsewhere in a patient’s body.

As the industry tackles the ‘second healthcare crisis’ of treatment backlogs from the Covid-19 pandemic, she outlines Novartis’ has a long-standing commitment to breast cancer care, underpinned by collaboration and science.

“I believe the life science industry can play an important role in helping the NHS build back better after the pandemic, including in oncology.”

The life science industry can play an important role in helping the NHS build back better after the pandemic.

Industry partnerships can improve patient’s quality of life

Cross-industry partnerships with “bold solutions, close collaboration and ground-breaking innovations,” are vital to improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients, says Gamache.

They have partnered with The Christie NHS Foundation to understand and address inequalities of access to secondary breast cancer services across Greater Manchester, with the project analysing findings from 3,032 patients to inform service developments.

“We’ve taken a bold approach with our research and patient trials, working with healthcare systems to identify new pathways or mutations that may play a role in disease progression and developing therapies that increase overall survival outcomes for patients, while not only maintaining but also improving the quality of life for patients” Gamache adds.

Supporting patients

Since 2021, Novartis has supported Breast Cancer Now to deliver the Living with Secondary Breast Cancer Face-to-Face groups service.

“This service offers monthly therapist facilitated, peer-to-peer support groups” says Gamache. “The groups enable women to meet those going through a similar experience. They share their crucial conversations by talking, listening and learning with people who understand the challenges that secondary breast cancer brings.”

Furthermore, Novartis is supporting conversations between patients and their healthcare professional through its ‘Moments That Count’ campaign, which provides resources and support about secondary breast cancer for all patients and their families to live the fullest life possible.

This article was commissioned and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd.

UK | September 2022 | 240742

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