Press Release

PhRMA "I'm Not Average" Highlights Cancer Survivors

PhRMA October 3, 2014

Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2014) – Today, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) launched a campaign, called “I'm Not Average,” to share inspirational stories from patients about the powerful impact advances and innovations in cancer medicines have had on their lives.

  • Dian “CJ” Corneliussen-James was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Nearly eight years later, CJ is still here, thanks in part to innovations in cancer medicines. Although the average length of survival for women with metastatic breast cancer is only a few years, some patients, like CJ, live well beyond the average.
  • Jamie Pires fainted in her doctor’s office when she was told she has Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Thirteen years, Jamie is still here and living well with CML.

[Watch these and other stories below]

[View more stories on PhRMA's YouTube Channel]

It is because of stories like this that medicines should not be evaluated based on the projected value they provide to an average patient, but on the value they provide to individual patients and the potential to extend and improve the quality of their lives.

Subscribe buttonIt is also important to note the full clinical value of a medicine may not be known for years after it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A 2012 report from Boston Healthcare points out how ongoing research evaluates the medicine’s effectiveness “in less-advanced disease, in combination with other therapies, in patient subpopulations, and in different cancer types altogether.” This research usually leads to a broader understanding of the full clinical value of the medicine and “may prove a greater benefit to patients than demonstrated at the time of initial approval.”

Over the next few weeks, the “I’m Not Average” campaign will highlight the stories of individual patients who have beaten the odds and lived well beyond the average life expectancy they were given when they began their treatment. These stories will be featured at and using the hashtag #NotAverage.

The campaign is just one of several events and activities planned throughout October around the value and cost of oncology medicines. Upcoming events include: 

  • PhRMA is a proud supporter of the second Turning the Tide Against Cancer National Conference that will bring together thought leaders from industry, advocacy organizations, academia and government to discuss the cancer research and care landscape. Held in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, October 9, the event will address the importance of sustaining innovation in cancer care despite the current cost containment environment.
  • PhRMA is also partnering with the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers to host two panel discussions on Wednesday, October 15, on the state of gastrointestinal cancer, ongoing public-private initiatives to treat it, and what must be done to ensure that patients receive the care they need.

To learn more about “I’m Not Average,” please visit Materials on the value of innovative cancer medicines and new patient stories will be released throughout the month. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook and tell your “I’m Not Average” story using the hashtag #NotAverage.

For more information on the Turning the Tide Against Cancer National Conference, please visit www.

Key Facts:


  • Since its peak in 1991, the cancer death rate in the U.S. is down 20 percent.
  • Since the mid-1970s, the 5-year survival rate has climbed to 68 percent and survival rates for childhood cancers are up 58 percent. The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is up 21 percent, 50 percent for prostate cancer, 36 percent for colon cancer and 54 percent for lung cancer.
  • Cancer medicines are less than 1 percent of total U.S. health care spending.
  • Today, more than 5,400 medicines are in development around the world, and 70 percent of those treatments are in the pipeline as potential first-in-class therapies.

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $51.1 billion in 2013 alone.

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