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A stage for change

Garnering support for change in the management of pain

While the impact of cancer pain and the need for effective treatment is well documented, international market research conducted among cancer patients identified a lack of effective communication between HCPs and patients.

A third of patients surveyed had pain so intolerable they wanted to die, but over half still had to proactively raise the topic of their pain with their GP before it was addressed. A new approach was needed to help the medical community more effectively communicate with patients and their families.

On behalf of Mundipharma, a manufacturer of strong opioid therapies for cancer pain, Cohn & Wolfe (C&W) created a new interactive learning tool, the Cancer Tales: Communicating in Cancer Care workbook.

Cancer Tales, a play by Nell Dunn, tells the stories of four women with cancer and illustrates issues with communication between HCPs and the patient and their families, from diagnosis to delivering bad news, pain management and survivorship.

The workbook took key scenes from the play, analysed the issues demonstrated, and provided practical advice and guidance for HCPs across Europe and beyond on how to improve  communications in cancer care.

• Garner support for change in the management of cancer pain through the creation of a credible, engaging tool
• Endorsement from two or more  representative groups
• Generate awareness of the rationale for, and content of, the workbook
• Achieve more than 750 requests within three months
• Ensure that 70 per cent of media overage carries the top three key messages
• Seek opportunities for integrating the workbook into HCPs' professional development
• Achieve more than three opportunities within three months
• Ensure the campaign meets the needs of Mundipharma associates
• Ensure eight associates use the workbook locally, beyond launch
• Integrate the tool into existing Mundipharma marketing activities.


The Cancer Tales workbook

The workbook was used to generate support for change in the management of cancer pain


A multidisciplinary editorial board was conceived to steer the development of the workbook comprising of various medical, educational and communications experts.

The workbook coupled real-life patient experiences with practical advice.

The workbook was launched via an emotional performance of Cancer Tales at the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) Congress to more than 300 HCPs, patients and journalists, as well as during an official congress poster presentation.

An online workbook was launched simultaneously on a bespoke website.

A media campaign targeting HCP publications publicised the workbook's availability.

• Endorsement was secured from key cancer and pain management societies, associations and charities
• Copy development was overseen by secondary care physicians, a specialist nurse, an expert in oncology communication, psychologist and media medic
• 23+ pieces of coverage were generated, including broadcast coverage, with 74 per cent carrying the top three messages
• 300 copies of the workbook were requested at the IPOS launch
• Three months post-launch, 1,285 further requests were received 
• 800 hits on dedicated website
• Cancer Tales was performed at the National Congress on Palliative Care 15th anniversary event; The Intl Conference on Cancer Nursing; 2nd Intl Conference in Palliative Care; the IPOS; and the Lance Armstrong Foundation funded a performance at the Intl Union Against Cancer World Cancer Congress
• The workbook inspired a Senior Macmillan Nurse communication skills training weekend workshop
• Cancer Tales was performed three times by HCPs in Ireland, and also in Austria, France, Poland and by the UK Royal Society of Medicine
• Gezeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest daily newspaper, utilised the workbook as part of a national Decent Death campaign, which included performances, workshops and seminars for medical students in Poland's leading academies
• 100 per cent of surveyed associates rated the workbook highly, as an inspirational tool that benefited local marketing
• Five associates used elements of the workbook at national meetings
• Performance of Cancer Tales given at European Marketing Workshop to inspire Associates, generate buy in to campaign and encourage local maximisation
• France and Austria hosted local performances of Cancer Tales, followed by a panel discussion of the workbook
• The  workbook won a Communiqué award for Writing Excellence in 2008.

"Cohn & Wolfe delivered an outstanding campaign, executing it with enthusiasm and energy. They provided an innovative resource which offers an exciting and different approach to that of traditional teaching methods. The campaign exceeded our expectations, generating outstanding media coverage and giving a long term programme that provides our European associates with ongoing opportunities to maximise activities at a national level."
Lara Dow, European Communications Manager, Mundipharma International.

Case study details

Client: Mundipharma International Limited
Agency: Cohn & Wolfe
Campaign: Cancer Tales: Communicating in Cancer Care Workbook
Timescale: January 2007 to December 2008 

19th November 2009


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