Daiichi Sankyo is working hand-in-hand with the UICC in a number of forums to ensure the cancer community can stay informed and feel connected and empowered even while socially distanced

Collective resilience: adapting as a community to the pandemic

29 January 2021
Gissoo DeCotiis

Gissoo DeCotiis

Head of Global Oncology Advocacy and Professional Relations, Daiichi Sankyo

People living with cancer have always been inherently resilient: tackling obstacles, summoning courage from deep within and remaining flexible with every appointment and treatment milestone. While feelings of isolation, disruption, anxiety and fear are common,  a cancer diagnosis also often breeds a mental toughness to get through the most difficult of circumstances. Maintaining a sense of resilience has been shown to benefit those with the disease before, during and after the cancer experience. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on new, extraordinary challenges for the cancer community. In addition to adapting to the absence of an in-person support system, people living with cancer are now often faced with having to postpone appointments, participation in clinical trials and scans intended to ensure their health and safety. Resilience has become an even bigger priority as they have had to adapt to forge ahead on their respective treatment journeys.  

Patients aren’t the only ones vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. Other key community stakeholders playing a critical role in patient care have been met with unexpected challenges of their own. As a cancer advocate, I believe inspiration in these tough times can be drawn from the very population we are supporting, and we must channel the steadfast resilience to weather the pandemic storm that people living with cancer have shown.  

Our company, for one, has channeled this resilience in the extensive measures we’ve taken to ensure progress for cancer patients in a COVID-19 world. Holding strong to our mission of continued innovation for patients, we are working closely with local health authorities and partner research organisations to ensure clinical trial continuity wherever we are safely and logistically able. We understand the pandemic has thrown research processes and patient recruitment for a loop, and all of our partners are working in lockstep to adapt and amend protocols as needed, allowing for easier patient follow-up. 

As devoted members of the community, we are grateful our advocacy partners have demonstrated just how resilient they too can be in their commitment to ensuring uninterrupted advocacy for people living with cancer. Throughout the course of the pandemic, countless patient advocacy groups have made impressive, creative adjustments to continue serving as a trusted resource for the cancer community through both virtual programming and social media support. 

We are proud to be working hand-in-hand with the UICC in a number of forums to ensure the cancer community can stay informed and feel connected and empowered even while socially distanced.  Initiatives such as the UICC Breast Cancer Programme – providing access to care resources in developing countries – demonstrate how global efforts toward cancer education and eliminating disparities can continue to make progress even when cancer care around the world has been upended. 

The UICC has also proven its resilience in reimagining this year’s World Cancer Day (WCD), creating an all-digital campaign hub. Participants are encouraged to join the 21 Days to Impact Challenge, cycle in the WCD Solidarity Challenge, and download the "I Am and I Will" campaign toolkit to learn how you can make a difference and help reduce the impact of cancer in your local communities. By virtually adapting this important day for the cancer community, the UICC is ensuring a continued global effort can ignite action and change – even in 2021.

Daiichi Sankyo stands united with the UICC this World Cancer Day and all year long because awareness, support and resilience are more important than ever. Our priority is to continue fighting for those facing cancer, find meaningful ways to remain nimble and continue to run clinical trials through these unprecedented circumstances. Drawing motivation and inspiration from one another will be key to moving forward as a unified, global community.


Ms Gissoo DeCotiis has over 25 years of diverse healthcare industry experience with an intense focus on oncology. Currently, she is the Head of Global Advocacy for Daiichi Sankyo where she focuses on building strong relationships with patient advocates around the world while creating broad awareness of the disease areas of interest with decision-makers and the public. For Daiichi Sankyo, it is crucial to understand the real needs of the patients and to learn from their experiences in order to help build more relevant studies that will help patients live a longer and healthier journey.

Last update: 
Tuesday 8 June 2021