How one idea - big or small - can help change cancer care

(BPT) - Anyone who has confronted cancer or helped a friend or family member battle the disease knows that the challenges go far beyond diagnosis and treatment. Managing the cancer journey and life after treatment calls on support from family and the surrounding community. It is this community that may have the greatest potential to improve lives of people touched by cancer, by using their own experiences to inform solutions.

Consider the everyday challenge of getting to and from the many doctor appointments during cancer treatment, or keeping a child’s spirits up while he or she is sick. People affected by cancer — not just doctors or researchers, but those closest to the patient’s journey such as caregivers, first responders, dietitians, therapists, patients themselves and more — have ideas that can transform care in these small but important ways.

Now in its fourth year, the Astellas Oncology C3 (Changing Cancer Care) Prize is looking for ideas beyond medicine that can transform cancer care and solve everyday challenges that people touched by cancer face.

This year, the C3 Prize will award up to $200,000 in total funds and resources to help winners bring their ideas to life.

Past winners used their own personal experiences to inform their ideas, which are helping people with cancer today.

Ebele Mbanugo of Lagos, Nigeria, 2018 Grand Prize Winner

After her mother and two aunts were diagnosed with cancer, Mbanugo was driven to create an organization that opened access and eliminated barriers to affordable breast cancer screenings. Winning the C3 Prize brought her one step closer to launching a program that fights the social stigma around breast cancer by creating a culturally relevant and easy-to-understand podcast series about breast cancer for patients.

Since winning the C3 Prize, Mbanugo has been piloting the audio series that reflects Nigerian patients and individuals in the community.

Hernani Oliveira, 2017 Grand Prize Winner

Oliveira is a cancer survivor who developed a two-part mobile app for kids with cancer and their parents. The app for kids helps them stay active and mobile during their treatments where they often are sedentary, while the app for parents helps them understand and explain complex cancer treatment procedures. Both platforms help solve issues related to medication adherence.

Since winning the C3 Prize, Oliveira has been focused on running trials on different prototypes of the app to improve the quality of the game and thereby reduce hospital admission times for patients.

Oliveira will also join this year’s panel of judges, alongside celebrity entrepreneur and cancer activist Bill Rancic, who learned firsthand the difficulties of navigating a cancer diagnosis after his wife, entertainment journalist Giuliana Rancic, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.

Calling for Entries

This year's C3 Prize calls for ideas in three categories related to unmet needs: 1) Cancer Care Journey, to help improve the cancer patient experience, ease their decision-making and help navigate the treatment process; 2) Cancer Health Disparities, to help reduce the unequal burden of cancer care, especially in creating tools and resources to reach underserved populations in the U.S. and abroad; and 3) Cancer Survivorship, to help alleviate the challenges and concerns of cancer survivors as they continue their journey to wellness.

All applications, regardless of submission category, will be considered for the following awards: one Grand Prize of $100,000; two Innovation Prizes for $45,000 each and one Emerging Ideas Prize for $10,000. Judges will consider entries for the Emerging Ideas Prize if they have great potential impact for patients and caregivers but need further development before implementing. Finalists will be selected to compete in front of a panel of judges during a live pitch event in the fall.

Visit www.c3prize.com to learn more.

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