World Cancer Day: BIG patient partners are closing the care gap!

Patient partners reunited

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As this 4th February marks World Cancer Day, BIG is proud to highlight our ongoing commitment to patient advocacy through the BIG Patient Partnership Initiative. Aligned with this year’s theme, “Close the care gap”, our initiative strives to bridge the gap between researchers and patients, ensuring a holistic approach to cancer care.

BIG’s history with patient advocates

Since the early 2000s, BIG has cultivated a strong relationship with patient advocates, beginning with our collaboration with Europa Donna. Advocates from the Europa Donna network have played a pivotal role in shaping BIG’s understanding of patients’ needs and ensuring that our work remains focused on improving the lives of those affected by cancer.

Introducing the Patient Partnership Initiative

In 2019, BIG took a significant step forward by launching the Patient Partnership Initiative. The primary objectives of this initiative are to broaden and elevate BIG’s collaboration with patients, making them active partners in defining scientific priorities. The Patient Partnership Initiative  aims to incorporate patients’ perspectives, ensuring that their voices are heard and valued in shaping the future of cancer research and care.

Hilary’s testimonial: from patient to patient advocate

Hilary, a dedicated patient advocate, about her journey with BIG:

When I had breast cancer in 2009 I was proud to be one of the participants in a radiotherapy trial to see if partial breast radiotherapy would work as well as whole breast radiotherapy but with less side-effects. I was impressed with the manner in which the reasons for the study were explained to me. I learnt that patient advocates had partnered with researchers to develop the study and the information. I also realised that breast cancer treatment was improving all the time through research like this and decided to take the opportunity to volunteer as a patient advocate myself. Since then I have been an advocate for several randomised trials and large research projects putting the patient point of view both in the UK and Europe.

I became a member of the BIG Patient Partnership Initiative when it was set up in 2019, facilitating partnership with patient advocates from across a range of countries, including Europe, Canada and Australia.  It has been very good to see the way that BIG has listened to the group’s important perspectives broadening its interaction with us as time has gone on, including providing training for our roles.  Our members have also gone on to be closely involved in particular research projects under the BIG umbrella.”

Closing the Care Gap

As we observe World Cancer Day and reflect on the theme of “Close the care gap“, BIG remains dedicated to creating a more inclusive, patient-centric approach to cancer research. This initiative stands as a testament to our commitment to collaboration, ensuring that patients are active participants in the journey towards improved treatments, better outcomes, and a brighter future.

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