Roche Launches Breast Cancer Study

Roche has presented the study design for the first-ever breast cancer patient journey study in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) Congress in Kigali, Rwanda.

The study aims to describe the typical breast cancer patient journey, as well as to assess resource use, cost and other hurdles influencing patient care in public and private hospitals in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

The data will provide insight into the challenges of addressing the full spectrum of breast cancer patient care in SSA, and help identify what solutions are needed at multiple points in the patient journey. Full study data will be available in 2018.

Despite advances in management, breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide. The burden of breast cancer disproportionately affects African countries with five-year survival rates as low as 12 percent in parts of Africa, compared with almost 90 percent in the United States, Australia and Canada. In addition, as many as 80 percent of patients in SSA are diagnosed with late-to-end stage disease when very little can be achieved in terms of curative treatment.

Limited resources also adversely impact access to care, resulting in sub-optimal management, high morbidity and mortality. This often places breast cancer patients and their families at risk of financial hardship. Lack of financial burden data is a major obstacle to developing policies for cancer care in lower middle income countries.

Study Design

The study will assess delays to patient care, including the delays to initiating standard of care testing (mammography, MRI, ER, HER2, chest x-ray) and to receiving these test results, as well as delays to initiation of standard of care treatment (neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, breast surgery, mastectomy, biologic treatment). Notably, the study will also assess direct cost to patients, including how many pay for their cancer care out of pocket and how many are unable to complete treatment for cost reasons.

The study is a retrospective chart review conducted in three public and three private hospitals in each country, including Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The study aims to obtain a comprehensive two-year sample of up to 1,000 anonymised patient records across all study sites.

The company develops comprehensive and sustainable programmes that are tailored to the specific needs of each country. Ensuring these patients have access to innovative medicines is accomplished through partnerships with key stakeholders such as governments, who share a long-term view for investment in healthcare infrastructure.

“We believe that patients in sub-Saharan Africa deserve the same treatment as everyone else. When we work with partners with a genuine will to make a difference for patients is when real impact can happen,” Markus Gemuend, Head, Sub-Saharan Africa, Roche, said.