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[Research Report] The Public Opinion Survey on Cancer Genomics and Precision Medicine (March 9, 2022)

[Research Report] The Public Opinion Survey on Cancer Genomics and Precision Medicine (March 9, 2022)

On March 9, 2022, Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) released poll data on public opinion about priorities for policies related to cancer genomics and precision medicine.
The new poll, conducted in October over the internet, asked a series of policy-related questions to a group of 1,000 people, selected without exclusion from a monitor panel of a research firm to be representative of the total population of Japan in terms of age, sex, and region.

Research asked participants about their own or family experience with cancer, and about their awareness and understanding of cancer genomics and precision medicine. Most people said that they had no experience with cancer (77.1%), while 10.4% said that someone in their family has had cancer, 3.4% said they themselves have had cancer, 1.5% said that they and someone in their family have had cancer. The remaining 7.6% stated that they preferred not to answer.


In terms of awareness and understanding, 57.2% said that they had never heard of cancer genomics or precision medicine, while 38.6% said they had heard of these treatments but did not know much about them. Just 4.2% said that they felt they were knowledgeable about this topic.

Results related to awareness and understanding were low regardless of cancer history, with an average of only approximately 55% reporting that they have at least heard of cancer genomics or precision medicine.

Respondents were asked about their prior knowledge of the six characteristics of cancer genomics and precision medicine listed below. Regardless of reported understanding about these topics, prior understanding about genomic testing, the timing of testing, and insurance coverage was particularly low. Even among those who reported having high knowledge of cancer genomics and precision medicine (42 respondents), just 9 (21.4%) answered that they knew all of the following points prior to this survey, further suggesting a need for greater awareness raising on this topic.

1. You can’t receive precision medicine at every hospital
2. Genomic tests investigate dozens to hundreds of genomic changes all at once, providing results about the specific characteristics of the patient’s cancer. This allows research into the best treatment for each patient.
3. Only a portion of genomic tests are covered by insurance
4. Genomic tests can only be done at specific time points
5. The probability of a genomic test being able to identify the best treatment for a patient is limited
6. Genomic tests can determine the possibility of a cancer having genomic causes

HGPI will continue to work to raise awareness and advance policy around cancer genomics and precision medicine through its work on non-communicable diseases.

For more information on this project and recent events on it organized by HGPI, please see here.

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