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Making Every Patient Count: A five-point plan to improve data collection for metastatic breast cancer patients

Pfizer Oncology
Pfizer UK

18th February 2021

For many Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) patients, the current lack of official, good quality data of patients poses several challenges for those involved in the delivery of healthcare; challenges that could be having a detrimental impact on the outcomes and quality of life of people living with MBC.1


These include:  

  1. Difficulties accurately defining the true metastatic breast cancer patient population.2
  2. A potential inability to properly understand the experiences of patients with metastatic breast cancer, based on inaccurate numbers.2,3
  3. A potential inability to optimally plan and allocate appropriate resources within local NHS Trusts, based on inaccurate or incorrect numbers.4

The challenge of data collection is not unique to MBC; it has been a sustained issue in cancer care for a number of years. A 2011 King’s Fund Report on improving cancer survival rates noted methodological issues arose because of differences in the quality and practices of data collection.5

Studies have found that ultimately, these problems have a significant impact on healthcare resourcing and budgets. A 2017 study found that inefficient practices due to unwanted variations in hospital processes cost £5 billion per year, or 9% of hospital spending, in England alone.6
With these data challenges in mind, Pfizer UK convened a steering group of clinicians, nurses, MBC patients and policy experts, with the collective ambition being to examine whether it was possible for MBC patients to access and receive the best treatment possible across the UK, regardless of where they live. We began with the starting point that in order to achieve first-class care, every patient needs to count.


Download the full report

Making Every Patient Count
A five-point plan to improve data collection for metastatic breast cancer patients.

Published January 2021.



  1. Breast Cancer Now. Secondary breast cancer Part two: Who’s counting? September 2016.
  2. Breast Cancer Now. Two thirds of Hospital Trusts failing to count patients with incurable breast cancer. September 2016.
  3. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Recurrent and Metastatic Breast Cancer Data Collection Project Pilot Report. 2012.
  4. Thrift-Perry M, Cabanes A, Cardoso F, et al. Global analysis of metastatic breast cancer policy gaps and advocacy efforts across the patient journey. The Breast. [2018];41:93-106
  5. The King’s Fund. How to improve cancer survival Explaining England’s relatively poor rates. June 2011.
  6. Wait S, Han D, Muthu V, et al. Towards sustainable cancer care: Reducing inefficiencies, improving outcomes—A policy report from the All.Can initiative. J Cancer Policy. [2017] Sep13;47-64
PP-ONC-GBR-1833 / Feb 2021