Unfortunately not everyone conducting research appreciates and is aware of what
advocates can add to his or her scientific project. However, over the past several
years the inclusion of advocates in research is becoming more common, especially
in cancer research.
The National Cancer Institute supports these efforts and has this quote on their
website – “As advocates participate in various NCI activities, they incorporate the collective patient perspective into the NCI research enterprise and serve as a reminder of the need for research focused on patients benefits and outcomes.”
As the field of research advocacy continues to grow, one of the most frequently
asked question by researchers is – how will they help me?
There are many ways people become involved in research as an advocate. Anyone
with an interest in science and a passion to improve the lives of patients can become
a research advocate. If you think you may enjoy learning about the science of
cancer, there are ways to learn what you need to know to be an effective advocate
(see Training Section at the end of this section). However, you also need the
passion and drive to put in the time and effort to be an effective advocate.
Research advocates are:
- People who have had cancer, been a caregiver to someone with cancer or
affected by someone who had cancer.
- People who are motivated to reach out to others also suffering from cancer.
- People who are motivated to make a broader impact by self-educating in
understanding the science behind cancer and its treatment.
People interested in research and willing to become trained in scientific
methodology, research design, basic statistics, and other scientific areas of cancer
Quote from Kate Murphy (1942-2012)
“Not only does my face and my cancer story inject reality into the
cancer research enterprise, it seems to add some sense of
urgency…We need to get the job done now without quibbling and
without egos.” (Mayer, 2011)