Stronger together for cancer patients

Cancer is caused by the uncontrolled division of body cells. The cells simply keep dividing and start growing in the surrounding tissue and sometimes spread to other areas of the body. Cancer can occur almost anywhere in the body. There are more than 100 different kinds of cancer, which all share the same characteristic of uncontrolled cell division. The rate at which the uncontrolled cell division occurs is different for each type of cancer. As a result, some types of cancer are more likely to cause symptoms than others.

In 2021, around 124,000 people were diagnosed with cancer. The main types of cancer for women are breast, skin and lung cancer, and for men, it is prostate, skin and lung cancer. The survival rate of cancer patients has dramatically improved in recent years. Some patients recover fully, while others live longer with cancer with few symptoms. The five-year cancer survival rate has increased to 65%. Today, over 830,000 people in the Netherlands have been diagnosed with cancer in the last 20 years.

Twee pratende mannen in kantoor

For over fifty years, Bristol Myers Squibb has been committed to discovering, developing, and delivering innovative medicines for cancer treatments. Our goal is to improve patient care and give cancer patients longer, better lives.

To achieve this, we seek cooperation with scientists, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, as well as with governments, healthcare insurers, and patient organisations.

We continuously seek dialogue and continue to exchange current insights and experiences in relation to cancer. This is fertile ground for all types of innovative and inspiring ideas, both to innovate care and optimise the quality of patients’ lives and survival.

We stimulate and facilitate our employees to continue exploring, refining, and realising their most valuable ideas, together with all the partners who are just as driven to beat cancer.

In oncology, we focus on three pillars

What is immunotherapy?

Our body has an immune system. This immune system enables the body to defend itself against intruders that can make us ill, such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, and parasites. The immune system also plays a role in protecting against cancer.


Immunotherapy is a treatment option that does not directly target cancer cells but the immune system. Immunotherapy boosts or activates the immune system to better attack cancer cells.


This is very different from chemotherapy, which directly impacts cancer cells.


For more information about immunotherapy: 

Stories from lung cancer patients

In the Netherlands, immunotherapy has been available for about five years to treat patients with lung cancer.

Not all lung cancer patients respond to immunotherapy in the same way. Some patients’ conditions do not or barely improve, or they have to discontinue the therapy because of side effects. However, some patients respond very well to immunotherapy. Read some of their stories here.

Gerard (49 year)

I had already been written off, and then I was allowed to try immunotherapy.

SIlhouette Jossy
Jossy (71 year)

I was furious and panicky, but five years on, I feel I can look to the future again.

Bert (56 year)

I only had three months to live, but now I have a future again.

Our initiatives for patients

We support patients with more than our medicines by cooperating with renowned specialists, patient organisations, health professionals and hospitals.

Immuno oncology website
Immuno-oncology website for patients

In the Netherlands, we have set up an educational website to improve knowledge and understanding of cancer and cancer treatments. The educational content is also shared with hospitals so that they can use it to support their patients. 



This website provides patients and their carers with up-to-date information about cancer, immunology, and other treatments. You can find medical information, stories about other patients, and articles about living with cancer.

Boekje over medische ziektes
Patient Education Atlas

Bristol Myers Squibb has developed a Patient Education Atlas to help healthcare providers give explanations to their patients receiving immunotherapy for skin cancer, renal cell cancer, lung cancer, oesophageal cancer, and stomach cancer.

These education atlases clearly explain to patients how immunotherapy works, what to expect from the treatment and the side effects.

Momentum information brochures
Momentum information brochures

We have also developed various brochures for patients about the treatment of cancer at different stages of the disease:

  • What treatments are available?
  • Curative treatment is no longer possible. What to do now?
  • The cancer has spread or returned. What to do now?
  • What does the treatment mean for you?
  • Rethinking your treatment

The Momentum brochures are available from your practitioner.

Our medicines in oncology

Our mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines to patients with serious diseases.

CAR T production facility in Leiden

In Leiden, we started building a brand new CAR T cell therapy production facility to bring personalised medicines closer to the European patient.