Background: The more we understand the cancer genome, better we get at identifying niche driver mutations and our ability to target those with effective therapies. Personalised cancer medicine (PCM) on one hand provides hope for delivering right treatment for the right patient, on the other it raises several questions about the cost of delivering such care, its impact on health budgets and its sustainability. Patient preferences play an important role in treatment decisions and an understanding of personalised approach to cancer may heavily impact these decisions.
Method: This is designed as a cross sectional observational study, designed to capture public understanding of terms like, individualised, personalised and targeted approaches to treating cancer. Respondents will be asked how this understanding helped them in their decision making process to receive a particular treatment. 2 different cohorts of patients, those with and without cancer diagnosis will be asked to complete the questionnaires. Those willing to participate will be provided with information to either complete the survey online or request a paper copy that can be filled and mailed back. Additional questions in the survey will address the issue of identifying the ‘target’ population for such specific therapies and willingness of respondents to fund such therapies or diagnostic tests if they are not reimbursed by the Government.
Results: All responses will be collated, summarised and univariate and multivariate analyses will be performed using regression modelling to identify the relationship between different groups understanding of a personalised approach to cancer. The results will provide insights into the public’s understanding of personalised medicine, its value and its future role in cancer treatment. It will also inform future dialogue between governments, the medicines industry and healthcare consumer organisations regarding the ethical and financial implications.
Conclusion: This study will address an important gap in our knowledge to understand public perceptions towards individualised cancer care with implications to the community of providing high cost, targeted cancer treatments to smaller groups of patients suffering from rare sub-types of cancer.