Purpose: Despite the considerable impact of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) on patients’ daily lives, the journey of the patient with a NET has rarely been documented, with published data to date being limited to small qualitative studies. NETs are heterogeneous malignancies with nonspecific symptomology, leading to extensive health care use and diagnostic delays that affect survival. A large, international patient survey was conducted to increase understanding of the experience of the patient with a NET and identify unmet needs, with the aim of improving disease awareness and care worldwide.
Methods: An anonymous, self-reported survey was conducted (online or on paper) from February to May
2014, recruiting patients with NETs from > 12 countries as a collaboration between the International Neuroendocrine Cancer Alliance and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Survey questions captured information on sociodemographics, clinical characteristics, NET diagnostic experience, disease impact/management, interaction with medical teams, NET knowledge/awareness, and sources of information. This article reports the most relevant findings on patient experience with NETs and the impact of NETs on health care system resources.
Results: A total of 1,928 patients with NETs participated. A NET diagnosis had a substantially negative impact on patients’ personal and work lives. Patients reported delayed diagnosis and extensive NET-related health care resource use. Patients desired improvement in many aspects of NET care, including availability of a wider range of NET-specific treatment options, better access to NET experts or specialist centers, and a more knowledgeable, better-coordinated/-aligned NET medical team.
Conclusion: This global patient-reported survey demonstrates the considerable burden of NETs with regard to symptoms, work and daily life, and health care resource use, and highlights considerable unmet needs. Further intervention is required to improve the patient experience among those with NETs.