Home » Advocacy » Patient Access » Why Patient Voices Play a Critical Role in Cancer Research
Patient Access & Empowerment

Why Patient Voices Play a Critical Role in Cancer Research

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:

Beth Ciavaglia

Chair, OICR Patient & Family Advisory Council 

The next generation of cancer research aims to increase patient-researcher collaboration to develop more targeted, individualized treatment options and better patient experiences.

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) works to advance cancer research and transform care for more than 14 million people diagnosed worldwide each year. Beth Ciavaglia, Chair of the OICR Patient and Family Advisory Council and breast cancer survivor, explains why patient voices are critical to the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment.   


What is translational research? 

Translational research applies findings to the real clinical environment and transitions those findings into the hands of the patients, wherever health care is being delivered. It recognizes that research is not just on the periphery of care, but delivering care that can be integrated into day-to-day practice with the patient at the centre.

What role can patients play in cancer research?

Patient-researcher collaboration integrates a patient directly into a research team, giving them a seat at the table in the research process. The goal is that the patient’s voice will help offer researchers a unique, individualized perspective, leading to better, more targeted and impactful results. 

Why do patient voices matter?

Cancer is a time when you’re feeling vulnerable. To be able to have any say in your day-to-day life is vitally important. Each person’s cancer is individual. Patients need to feel like they’re decision-makers.

What is precision medicine?

Precision medicine recognizes that each person’s cancer is unique to that individual and must be treated accordingly. It explores the make-up of individual cancer at a genetic level, investigating treatment options for each specific situation. The goal is to deliver a more effective, customized or personalized treatment plan with fewer long-term negative outcomes for patients. 

How is personalized care giving the cancer community a glimmer of hope?

As cancer treatments become more individualized and less invasive, the hope is that patients will live life with limited to no side effects. When working in the cancer research space, you’re always filled with hope that your contribution is going to make a positive impact in some way. 

To learn more about how OICR is supporting ground-breaking cancer discoveries and life-changing patient outcomes, visit oicr.on.ca.

Next article