Programs to help patients cope with cancer continue growth
Programs that help patients cope with cancer continue growth
Around the world, Bristol Myers Squibb’s initiatives to improve the lives of cancer patients are making a significant impact. Here are some recent offerings:
Japan: Pediatric Oncology Project
The fragile health of young cancer patients requires isolation from family, friends and school for periods of time during treatment. Keeping these children connected with society is critically important to ensure emotional support and avoid interruption of their growth opportunities. Japan’s Pediatric Oncology Project is funding robotic friends designed to break this isolation. Their hope is that this will improve quality of life, speed recovery time, and of course, bring smiles to young patients during difficult times.
The taller robot, Temi, includes a simple console and follows its patients to provide quick and easy chats or video visits. The smaller purple robot, LOVOT, is much like a pet: it’s cuddly and warm, and it flaps its wings, moves its eyes and responds to its friends.
This is one of several initiatives of the Japan Pediatric Oncology Project. Their mission is to deliver hope to all pediatric cancer patients, families and caregivers by enabling access to advanced treatment and improving quality of life.
Argentina: Vivir con Cáncer digital campaign
Since its launch in 2020, BMS Argentina’s Vivir con Cáncer program has reached more than 20 million people via a dedicated website, videos on YouTube and podcasts on Spotify. The campaign, which features interviews with patients, relatives, caregivers and healthcare providers on living with cancer, was developed in partnership with the Argentine Association of Clinical Oncology. It has won numerous honors in its home country, including a DirCom Award for best digital campaign and two Eikon Awards for social marketing.
Hosted by actor and former cancer patient Facundo Arana (Pequeña Victoria), Vivir con Cáncer tells the stories of survivors from all walks of life. Participants included Olympic sailor Santiago Lange and social media influencer Celeste Iannelli. “This initiative helps us promote prevention and access to information about cancer,” said Juan Diddi, general manager of BMS Argentina. “It’s one of the ways in which we work with experts throughout the healthcare system to ensure that patients get the attention and care they need.”
U.S.: Survivorship Today video series
When Sterling K. Brown’s uncle Sonny died of pancreatic cancer, just six months after being diagnosed, his entire family was devastated. “Before his diagnosis, I hadn’t seen the disease up close,” recalled Brown, known for his Emmy-winning role on TV’s This Is Us. “But watching my uncle as he faced cancer helped me to begin to understand what it means to live with the disease, and how the body, mind and your loved ones are impacted over time.”
Nearly two decades later, that experience led Brown to sign on to Bristol Myers Squibb's video series Survivorship Today, accessible via BMS.com and YouTube. On the program, launched in 2019, cancer survivors from diverse backgrounds discuss what it’s like to live with the disease, sharing their challenges and triumphs. Providers and caregivers offer their perspectives, as well. The goal is to deepen viewers’ understanding of what it means to manage a cancer diagnosis and its aftermath, and to help survivors and family members cope with their “new normal.”
Recently, Brown raised public awareness of Survivorship Today with interviews on multiple U.S. national TV shows and online media outlets — appearances that attracted audiences in the millions. He also hosted the campaign’s first Facebook event, interviewing four cancer survivors on topics ranging from mental health and body image issues to dating and relationships.
“The fact that we’re talking about living with cancer shows how much progress has been made,” Brown said. “I’m emboldened by the idea that cancer may cease to be a death sentence in my lifetime. I want to do everything I can to support people who face it, whether it’s for six months, like my uncle, or for years.”