Patient advocacy can help to enable skin cancer research

A new editorial publication states that Keratinocyte (skin) cancer is the most common form of human cancer, yet limited treatment advances have been made in the past 10 years and few quality clinical trials have been published, particularly from Australia.

Towards better treatment outcomes for Australians with skin keratinocyte cancers – time for the patient voice? has been published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention and Current Research and it suggests that patient advocacy groups should collaborate with researchers and decision makers to develop better treatments and improve research quality, relevance and translation into practice.

The article calls for improved clinical trial leadership, with investment to generate Australian and international data through randomised clinical trials. Recognising the need for multidisciplinary teams to care for keratinocyte cancer patients is also covered.

The first author of the publication is Prof Gerald Fogarty, and other authors are involved with skin cancer patient advocacy or are authors of the Australian Keratinocyte Cancer Clinical Guidelines 2019.

Prof Fogarty said skin cancer researchers and decision makers should work with people who have a lived experience of keratinocyte cancer.

“Patient advocacy groups are well positioned to advise researchers on clinical trial protocols and ensure patients’ concerns are considered in the trial study design,” Prof Fogarty said.

“Australians have the highest incidence of keratinocyte cancers and willingly participate in clinical trials, yet we generate relatively little high-quality clinical trial evidence for keratinocyte cancer.”

“Before Australia’s keratinocyte cancer clinical practice guidelines are updated in 2024, we would like to see a significant contribution of high-quality evidence from Australian researchers and greater participation of Australian patients in research,” he added.

Prof Gerald Fogarty is Chair of the Australasian Merkel Cell Carcinoma Interest Group (AMIGOs) and is a radiation oncologist at the ICON Cancer Centre, Revesby in Sydney.