BeiGene, a global biotechnology company, is convening diverse stakeholders to amplify the mental health needs of the cancer community during an event hosted for patient advocates and scientists attending the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans. In collaboration with Cancer Support Community (CSC), the company will preview new national survey findings1, including that 60 percent of individuals impacted by cancer who experienced emotional distress were not referred to a mental health professional by their cancer care team, and one in five who specifically wanted mental health support did not receive it.
“The isolation, stress and access issues experienced by cancer patients point us to a truth that was already self-evident within the cancer community, which is that mental healthcare matters,” said Dr. Christiane Langer, “CSC’s findings underscore the importance and urgency of this conversation in a post-COVID environment.”
“Advocacy organizations like Cancer Support Community have been engaged in this work for quite some time, and BeiGene is committed to working with CSC and other stakeholders to identify and provide solutions that address the holistic needs of patients,” said Maia Thrift-Perry, Global Advocacy Director, BeiGene.
With support from BeiGene, the online survey was conducted as part of CSC’s flagship research study, the Cancer Experience Registry, and included more than 600 U.S. cancer patients and survivors who self-identified as having faced emotional or mental health concerns. Findings illuminated key themes and challenges:
- Emotional Distress is Prevalent Across the Cancer Continuum: While highest during diagnosis, treatment, and recurrence; even those who are in post-treatment or have no current evidence of disease often experience some form of emotional distress.
- Significant Barriers to Mental Health Care Exist: Individual viewpoints (i.e., beliefs that emotional distress will resolve on its own, discomfort discussing feelings) and access issues (e.g., financial barriers to treatment and telehealth, long appointment wait times, mental health professional shortages) are among the barriers reported.
- Interventions to Complement Both Medication and Counseling are Desired: While 58 percent of respondents received care from a mental health professional, and 48 percent were prescribed depression or anxiety medication, many respondents endorsed other services and activities to help reduce distress and improve emotional well-being, such as exercise (66%) and meditation classes (62%), nutrition programs (61%), and support groups (60%).
- Pre-existing Vulnerability to Anxiety/Depression is Not the Only Risk Factor: In addition to symptom burden and impact, key patient concerns including healthcare team communication, relationships and intimacy, body image and healthy lifestyle are important considerations in understanding risk for anxiety and depression among patients and survivors.
"For 40 years, the Cancer Support Community has been a relentless ally for anyone impacted by cancer,” said CSC CEO Debbie Weir. “As part of our mission, we are dedicated to inspiring change that improves the cancer experience by engaging in research that sheds light on the realities of coping with a cancer diagnosis. We are pleased to partner with BeiGene to raise awareness about the mental health challenges faced by people living with cancer.”
The survey findings will be discussed today at “Cancer and Mental Health: The Science and Art of Whole Patient Health,” a BeiGene-hosted event featuring renowned experts. Topics of conversation will include the practice of mental healthcare in a cancer setting; and the impact of inequality and health equity on access, research opportunities, and clinical guidelines. Finally, the group will address policy changes needed to systemically integrate mental health and wellness into quality cancer care that serves the whole patient. BeiGene intends to utilize the survey’s comprehensive findings to advance these conversations with the advocacy community, healthcare providers and policymakers as part of the Company’s new program, Talk About It: Cancer and Mental Health.
For more information about the research findings and BeiGene’s new program, please visit http://www.beigene.com/for-patients/cancer-mental-health/.
*This meeting was not an official program of the ASH annual meeting.
About Talk About It: Cancer and Mental Health
BeiGene believes mental health support can improve quality of life and health outcomes for individuals impacted by cancer. Aimed at patients and caregivers, healthcare professionals and policymakers, BeiGene’s new and comprehensive program, Talk About It: Cancer and Mental Health, is designed to elevate the important intersection of mental health and cancer care. Talk About It will feature innovative empowerment strategies, advance public policy conversations, and inspire dynamic health equity initiatives to support people throughout their entire cancer journey. To learn more about Talk About It, visit http:///www.beigene.com/for-patients/cancer-mental-health/.
BeiGene is a global biotechnology company that is developing and commercializing innovative and affordable oncology medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for far more patients worldwide. With a broad portfolio, we are expediting development of our diverse pipeline of novel therapeutics through our internal capabilities and collaborations. We are committed to radically improving access to medicines for far more patients who need them. Our growing global team of more than 9,000 colleagues spans five continents, with administrative offices in Beijing, China; Cambridge, U.S.; and Basel, Switzerland. To learn more about BeiGene, please visit www.beigene.com and follow us on Twitter at @BeiGeneGlobal.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws, including statements regarding BeiGene’s plans, strategies, commitments, aspirations, and goals for the Talk About It program, and BeiGene’s plans, commitments, aspirations and goals under the caption “About BeiGene”. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including BeiGene's ability to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates; the clinical results for its drug candidates, which may not support further development or marketing approval; actions of regulatory agencies, which may affect the initiation, timing and progress of clinical trials and marketing approval; BeiGene's ability to achieve commercial success for its marketed medicines and drug candidates, if approved; BeiGene's ability to obtain and maintain protection of intellectual property for its medicines and technology; BeiGene's reliance on third parties to conduct drug development, manufacturing, commercialization, and other services; BeiGene’s limited experience in obtaining regulatory approvals and commercializing pharmaceutical products and its ability to obtain additional funding for operations and to complete the development of its drug candidates and achieve and maintain profitability; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on BeiGene’s clinical development, regulatory, commercial, manufacturing, and other operations, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in BeiGene’s most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in BeiGene's subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and BeiGene undertakes no duty to update such information unless required by law.
1 Cancer Support Community (2022). Cancer Experience Registry Spotlight Survey: Identifying Barriers to Accessing Mental Health Care among Cancer Patients and Survivors [Unpublished data, August 2021]