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Defining the context of the metastatic breast cancer conversation

Defining the context of the metastatic breast cancer conversation

Pfizer Canada Inc. (Pfizer) was preparing for the launch of a new treatment for metastatic breast cancer (mBC) and had not previously worked in the area. To set the stage for a successful launch, Pfizer wanted to understand the unique journey and needs of women with mBC in Canada and how best to engage them.


NATIONAL was engaged by Pfizer to help in developing a strategy that would connect on a deep human level and create programs that would resonate with mBC patients and the community as it launched its new treatment. Sometimes called advanced or stage four breast cancer, mBC is breast cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, bones, or brain. It is the most advanced stage of breast cancer for which there is no cure. Only five per cent of cancer research funds are spent on metastases while it kills 90 per cent of all cancer patients.


NATIONAL employed its in-house digital ethnography process to help Pfizer better understand the beliefs and behaviours of women with mBC. NATIONAL’s goal was to leverage a research method that would allow us to put mBC in context of the overall breast cancer “conversation,” segment the universe of mBC patients, and mine for deep insights that would bring to life beliefs and behaviours around the disease, as well as the cultural and the social context of daily life.


Our findings identified the need for greater awareness and understanding of mBC in Canada. This resulted in our recommendation of an mBC awareness campaign. We had rich evidence to demonstrate that these women and their experiences were being greatly affected by not just a lack of awareness around mBC, but the stigma associated with the disease, and society’s wrongful assumptions about their condition, treatment and prognosis. We executed an integrated awareness campaign in partnership with three breast cancer organizations in Oct. 2016.