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Cancer: Many support the use of personalized patient data


Germans are most afraid of cancer

According to a current survey, cancer is the greatest health threat for around two thirds of Germans. Eight out of ten Germans are in favor of using personalized patient data if cancer drugs can be developed more quickly as a result.

Individual therapy promises the best chance of recovery

According to health experts, cancer therapy that is tailored to the individual patient promises the best chance of recovery. However, personalized cancer medicine initially requires large amounts of data. According to experts, however, data protection stands in the way; this inhibits medical progress. However, a large number of Germans would be willing to share their data in the service of research. This was shown by the representative survey "Personalized Cancer Medicine" by the consulting firm PwC Strategy & among 1,000 citizens.

Germans are most afraid of cancer

The population survey showed that Germans are most afraid of being diagnosed with cancer.

According to this, tumor diseases represent the greatest health threat for around two thirds (67 percent). The importance of cancer research is correspondingly high: 86 percent consider them "very important".

As the company reports, eight out of ten citizens support the sharing of personalized data if it can shorten the time it takes to develop cancer drugs.

“But citizens want to make sure that data protection is guaranteed. They would only share their data with a trustworthy institution, preferably with academic research institutions such as universities, ”said Michael Burkhart, Head of Healthcare & Pharma at PwC Germany in an interview.

Financial consideration expected

When asked whether he found the result surprising, Burkhart said: “I was amazed at the scale. Because the topic of "data protection" is particularly critically discussed in the German public. "

He continued: “But we can also see that the fear of cancer is pronounced. The Germans fear the tumor more than cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or heart attack, even though most people in Germany actually die from it. "

The interest in cancer research is correspondingly large, "as is the willingness to make one's own contribution to science, especially by disclosing personal data," said Burkhart.

However, this contribution should not necessarily be unselfish. The survey showed that just under one in five expected a financial return for the provision of personal data, for example in the form of lower health insurance contributions or payment.

However, a third would make his data available free of charge. And over a quarter of Germans would even appreciate it if data had to be made available anonymously.

Support cancer research by participating in studies

In addition to sharing personal data, two thirds of Germans would also be willing to support cancer research by participating in studies. But what progress is cancer medicine currently making?

"Enormous," said Dr. Thomas Solbach. "In our opinion, cancer diagnostics and therapy will change fundamentally in the next three to five years," said the pharmaceutical and health expert at Strategy & Germany.

"In the future, it will be even more important than before to individually adapt the therapy to the patient using targeted diagnostic methods such as molecular genetic examinations of tumor tissue and blood as well as meaningful data analyzes," said Solbach.

"The key word here is personalized or tailor-made cancer medicine, which combines knowledge about the disease with new technological possibilities and individual patient data."

Not every patient responds to therapy immediately

Michael Burkhart explained why personalized cancer medicine has such great potential: "Cancer research has long known that the disease proceeds differently and that not every patient responds to therapy in the same way."

And: "The chances of a cure increase enormously, the risks of undesirable side effects decrease if the therapy is individually adapted to the patient - and not just at the beginning of the therapy, but over the entire course," said the expert.

"It also helps to avoid that sufferers have to undergo stressful therapy to which they do not respond at all."

One in four considers cancer drugs to be overpriced

However, that has its price. According to the information, the costs for modern cancer therapy with 50,000 euros and more per year and patient are twelve times higher than the average costs per insured person.

Nonetheless, six out of ten Germans consider this expenditure to be justified, especially if the innovative means are proven to be useful.

"Around a quarter, on the other hand, believe that the prices for cancer drugs are overpriced, regardless of their benefits," said Dr. Solbach.

“Cost awareness has increased, including in the healthcare industry. However, we know that personalized medicine does not necessarily make medication more expensive, but can help to reduce healthcare costs, ”said the pharmaceutical and health expert. (ad)

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