How Bayer is encouraging prostate cancer victims to 'Speak Up'

"We really want to make this national movement. We want to bring advanced prostate cancer to the forefront."

NEW YORK: Bayer HealthCare wants prostate cancer victims to get vocal with their caregivers and doctors about the state of their disease, so that appropriate next steps can be more easily identified.

Bayer’s campaign, Men Who Speak Up, was inspired by a US survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the pharmaceutical company between February and April. 410 advanced prostate cancer patients and 95 caregivers took part.

By the numbers: one in five, or 22% of men, said "talking about their pain makes them feel weak." More than half, or 71% and 55%, respectively, said they "sometimes don't know the cause of their pain," but also said "daily pain and discomfort is just something they have to live with."

Cynthia North, customer marketing director at Bayer HealthCare, explained that the survey’s results confirmed Bayer’s initial suspicions.

"We have suspected that there was a big challenge with men who were living with prostate cancer, because many of them were kind of silent about what was going on with their disease," she said.

With no major "movement" around the issue, North added that Bayer wanted to pinpoint just how to get men talking and aware of what might indicate the disease’s advancement.

The US campaign will include ad placements in "a variety of consumer and patient publications," said North, such as USA Today’s September issue.

The campaign’s website includes information about advanced prostate cancer symptoms, and outlines different ways patients and caregivers can take action.

Caregivers and families of cancer patients are "equally important" targets of the campaign, said North, because "that person [is] very much also a part of that person’s journey with prostate cancer," and can help them identify symptoms.

There will also be educational materials on display in doctors’ offices to help boost outreach because of the "inordinate amount of time" prostate cancer victims spend there.

North added that many patients might not realize symptoms, such as increasing degrees of pain or bladder issues, because they attribute them to a "lifestyle change."

"We really want to make this national movement. We want to bring advanced prostate cancer to the forefront," said North, who added that the campaign has no specific end date in sight. "We can’t do it alone – we’re looking for everyone to really join us and get the word out there."

Further visibility includes the campaign's title sponsorship of a collegiate men’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas this fall, according to a company statement, which is part of a collaboration between Bayer HealthCare and Coaches vs. Cancer.

Cohn & Wolfe, Bayer oncology's PR AOR, is working with the company on the campaign.

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