The Power of Education in Treating Breast Cancer

May 31, 2020

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and accounts for approximately 25% of all cancers in women worldwide.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and accounts for approximately 25% of all cancers in women worldwide. In addition, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in 140 out of 184 countries worldwide.1 There are several different subtypes of breast cancer-hormone-receptor (HR) positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive, triple-negative, and BRCA-mutated-each with different frequencies, outcomes, and precision medicines for treatment.

With the treatment landscape for each subtype rapidly evolving and the high incidence of breast cancer in the population, it is critical that oncologists stay current with the latest scientific understanding of how to screen for and manage the disease when found. Continuing medical education (CME) plays a key role in helping oncologists and other members of the oncology care team stay current with the latest developments in breast cancer by offering evidence-based education beyond what they have learned in medical school and residency. Online CME is a demonstrably effective option2 for preparing oncologists to integrate therapeutic discoveries into clinical practice-offering high-value education rooted in science in formats that match oncologists’ learning preferences. Some of the therapies oncologists are interested in learning about include cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK4/6) inhibitors, HER2-targeted therapies, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors, and immunotherapy.3

“Medical oncology online CME education provides an invaluable resource for healthcare providers, particularly oncologists with the necessary, timely update in clinical care. This is particularly relevant in breast cancer due to the explosion of new data, recommendations, and FDA-approved agents. Moreover, we are facing such challenging times due to the current COVID-19 pandemic that we have to start rethinking our current educational and communication models. It is likely that in the future we will see smaller and less frequent conferences and more incorporation of online educational tools,” said Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, FACP, professor of medicine and associate director of translational research at the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; president of the International Society of Liquid Biopsy (ISLB); and president of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer International Consortium (IBC-IC).

Each education activity is developed by faculty who are leading oncologists, who work together with Medscape Oncology’s medical education directors, clinical strategists, and program managers to deliver high-quality learning solutions designed to accomplish specific educational objectives.

“The rapidly evolving cancer treatment landscape has created a dilemma for practitioners. It is not only essential for oncologists to stay current, but at the same time, more challenging to do so. With the FDA approving cancer therapies and expanding indications at a record pace, the utility of somatic molecular analyses increasing, and increased precision of newly approved drugs, staying current has quickly become a challenge for oncologists,” said Gregory A. Vidal, MD, PhD, lead of Breast Research, West Cancer; associate director of Breast Division, West Cancer; and assistant professor at UTHSC. “This is particularly challenging for medical oncologists who practice in the community setting. In breast cancer, we continue to be a leader in the precision approach to treatment. Online CME portals, like Medscape, now play an increasingly integral role in educating and equipping oncologists with the most current data and treatment practices, which allows them to continue to provide the best care to their breast cancer patients,”

As oncologists’ understanding of breast cancer evolves, clinician education will continue to be of utmost importance, with CME playing a key role.

Kinjal Parikh, PharmD, BCOP, Brand Insights Contributor, Associate Director, Clinical Strategy, Hematology/Oncology. She can be reached at kparikh@medscape.net.

 

1. Breast Cancer Research Foundation

2. Medscape internal data, 2019.

3. Medscape Breast Cancer Survey of Oncologists, January 2020, n = 50.