The Role of Healthcare Managers in Advancing Cancer Research


Healthcare managers have an important role to play in the advancement of cancer research. Without the support of healthcare managers, cancer researchers will continue to face the same challenges they have faced over time. Healthcare managers have the power to make decisions that will make it easy for cancer researchers to do their work. Clinical research plays a significant function in the medical profession. It is important to note that cancer is not just one disease, and this increases the challenge of finding a cure. One of the major challenges that cancer researchers constantly face is the lack of adequate funding. Through increased funding, awareness and advocacy, healthcare managers have ways of supporting cancer research.

The Role of Healthcare Managers in Advancing Cancer Research


Without research, new drugs and medical interventions against diseases would not be discovered. With the increase in the number of new diseases and drug resistance of some of the known diseases, there is a need for further clinical research in all medical spheres. Cancer is one of the diseases that continue to trouble the world in unimaginable ways. Newer cases of cancer are reported each day, and the number is alarming (Alastair, 2010). The number of cancer-related deaths also continues to rise day by day, especially with the fact that there is no cure for cancer. There are different varieties of cancers including breast, lung, cervical, prostate, stomach, and throat cancer among others. In this perspective, it is clear that the task ahead of cancer researchers is of great magnitude. This creates a need for these researchers to have support from all spheres, medical and non-medical. Healthcare managers play the major administrative role in the health sector. As managers of the healthcare sector, they need to support cancer researchers in all means possible; all healthcare managers need to embrace and address this role as adequately as they can. The main question that needs to be answered by this paper is: what role do healthcare managers play in cancer research?

The General Role of Healthcare Managers in Health Facilities

The need for medical research is immeasurable and continues to be an important part of the medical profession. However, not nearly enough is being done to advance medical research especially in regards to terminal diseases. Cancer has become one of the world’s greatest killers as more and more people continue dying from cancer; there are numerous types of cancers and more continue to be discovered every day. A notable fact is that there is still no cure for cancer; this means that more research needs to go into this disease in order to come up with a cure that will help humankind (Israel, Eng, & Parker, 2013). There are many stakeholders in cancer research and healthcare managers can be included in this group. Their role in the administration of healthcare centers is of great importance as they define how day to day operations in hospitals and other healthcare centers will be managed.

Healthcare managers play an administrative role in health facilities. There are several responsibilities laid upon the healthcare managers. These include providing leadership services, budgeting for healthcare facilities, and creating strategic plans to mention a few. The topic on the role of healthcare managers in advancing cancer research is of great importance due to the immense responsibilities resting in the hands of healthcare managers (Macara, 2002). The administrative role played by healthcare managers gives them the power to make major decisions regarding research and other matters that affect healthcare facilities. For healthcare managers working in research hospitals, their role in cancer research is larger. The importance of discussing this topic is to highlight ways that hospital administrators can help advance cancer research. With the support of other players in the medical profession, healthcare managers can support cancer researchers in all ways possible. By highlighting this topic, one will be able to see areas where healthcare managers have not been working well in the promotion of cancer research. This will help in finding ways of improving the weak areas and ensuring that the healthcare managers play an excellent role in the advancement of cancer research.

Challenges Facing Cancer Researchers

Cancer research is a huge project that requires a constant flow of funding. In many cases, cancer researchers depend on well-wishers and volunteers to meet their financial needs. However, in many cases research usually stalls as funds diminish. This is a challenge that needs to be mitigated permanently if a cure for cancer is to be found. Cancer researchers are also faced with the problem of structural and institutional barriers. Bureaucracy is one of the problems that many cancer researchers have to grapple with on a daily basis. The authorization of clinical trials takes very long, and this slows down the process of research. Cancer researchers also get opposition from communities that do not believe in the process of research (Lomas, 2005). This creates an unfriendly setting for the cancer researchers. In addition, cancer researchers also face challenges in finding subjects for the trials. It is difficult to convince patients to participate in clinical trials making it difficult for cancer researchers. Cancer researchers are often faced with the challenge of inadequate staff since they require a large number of qualified staff members.

Healthcare managers should strive to make individuals and patients comprehend that, just like cancer, cancer research cannot succeed suddenly. Cancer research is not a linear progression, but a passageway that researchers cannot at all times foretell. Cancer research engages many individuals, resolutions that often bring about many enquiries, and an exasperating quantity of time. Occasionally, a comprehension of even incredibly fundamental biological difficulties that researchers would not essentially consider having any association with cancer turn out to be the ones that can ultimately help bring about progress in cancer management. In this regard, it is essential for researchers, healthcare managers, and clinicians to enhance their collaboration though healthcare managers have often found it difficult to bring the stakeholders together. For instance, a researcher may study a given fundamental biological problem and recognize that his study on normal cells may have a comparable outcome on abnormal cancerous cells. Attributable to collaboration, a different stakeholder could also recognize that there could be a means of treating the cancerous cells that could translate to a chance for improved cancer research and treatment. Likewise, it could be a different stakeholder who then extends the idea by coming up with a drug to target the cancerous cells (Whitehead, 2006).

Through creating of platforms that support networking, working as a team, and extending previous research, healthcare managers can boost the opportunities to give birth to novel treatments that can create a triumphant outcome. Nevertheless, as aforementioned, there are many challenges experienced by cancer researchers, and that holdback their progress. Funding remains the greatest of the challenges and perhaps will at all times be. Since cancer research represents a massive enterprise, it demands advanced expertise that is costly and requires freshening up techniques to ensure that it is constantly moving forth. On this note, healthcare managers ought to seek government financial support and donations passionately to fund cancer researches. Healthcare managers in the field of research also ought to remind researchers that cancer is not merely a disease, but occurs in a variety of diseases, and they require different researchers dealing with the problem to succeed constantly (Wagner, 2000). Moreover, there are different issues that rise in cancer research. In some cases, there are new medications that appear to be helpful while some older medications are still successful in the treatment. Nevertheless, availability and affordability of the extant drugs remains a challenge. Cancer researchers should thus endeavor to make the promising novel drugs and successful older drugs accessible to all while involving all stakeholders and seeking ways to enable affordability of the drugs.

How Healthcare Managers Can Help Ease the Challenges Experienced By Cancer Researchers

Cancer continues to be an international public health issue that constantly challenges researchers, nurses, and interdisciplinary medical experts in the reduction of mortality, augmenting duration and significance of survivorship, or assuage uneasiness if long life is not promising. Even though considerable progress has been attained, a disjointed, intricate healthcare scheme has inspired the generation of new models, tasks, and leadership programs (Frank-Stromborg & Olsen, 2004). The rising and complex tasks of Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNL) and healthcare managers have been built up to employ evidence-based practice and discover gaps in quality of healthcare provision, classification, and administration for a particular population of patients. Healthcare managers can assist in the improvement of organizational success and optimization of consumer results by teaming up with forefront groups at the stage of the medical microsystem. Since quality and constant performance perfection are the channels for changing care, healthcare managers can guide cancer researchers in the integration of their role to motivate proficient development and tackle the quality objectives outlined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

There are numerous ways that healthcare managers can help ease the challenges faced by cancer researchers. Healthcare managers can allocate funds to cancer research to help support cancer researchers. Healthcare managers can also help researchers advance cancer research through the allocation of staff to alleviate any inadequacies that may exist (Jackson & Kalucy, 2009). Moreover, since healthcare managers are the administrative force in healthcare facilities, they can eliminate the bureaucracy that currently exists. It is important that healthcare managers realize the huge responsibilities they have in advancing cancer research. This will help ease the challenges that cancer researchers are currently facing.

How Healthcare Managers Can Support Cancer Research


Healthcare managers can help advance cancer research through advocacy, as they desire to make a difference in the experiences of individuals with the disease by making them cancer advocates. Advocacy can generate constructive and strengthening experiences to assist others by giving backing to people suffering from cancer, increasing public understanding, promoting cancer research, boosting the excellence of cancer care, and tackling governmental and regulatory concerns that influence cancer management and research. In addition, advocating for others as well offers an opportunity to share experiences concerning successful handling of cancer. With the platform they have, they can help advocate extensive support from all sectors for cancer research (Patlak, Nass, Balogh, National Cancer Policy Forum, & Institute of Medicine, 2011). Through advocacy programs, healthcare managers can help mobilize public and professional support for cancer research. For instance, cancer advocacy and alertness signify a kind of health advocacy that could engage healthcare managers and cancer advocates in raising funds, lobbying for improved care, more understanding, and more empowerment for cancer survivors. Healthcare managers may also carry out advocacy programs and offer free or subsidized services in their endeavor to assist cancer survivors. For instance, the much publicized breast cancer culture is usually referred to as the pink ribbon culture and denotes the cultural result of breast cancer support, the advocacy program that supports cancer research and treatment, and the bigger women’s health society.


Many people both within and outside the medical profession have no idea what cancer research is all about. This is why there are people against cancer research without adequate knowledge of what it entails. There is an immense need for education programs to help people understand what cancer research is all about (Schickedanz & National Cancer Policy Forum, 2009). This will help people find ways to support cancer research, depending on their position in life.


This is one of the most important roles that healthcare managers should take up diligently. It is important to note that healthcare managers have the responsibility of budgeting for healthcare facilities. This means that they have the direct power to determine how much money is allocated to cancer research and research in general. It is imperative that healthcare managers take up this role and increase the resources they allocate to cancer research. This will help ease the problem of inadequate funding as experienced by most cancer researchers (Soliman, Schottenfeld, & Boffetta, 2013). Healthcare managers can assist in the planning and taking part in regional and national fundraising actions that back cancer research. For instance, healthcare managers could lead by example by contributing funds to a cancer organization directly, designing a workplace charitable program, pushing for a cancer walk fund-raising opportunity, and purchasing merchandise, varying from clothes to postage stamps, from corporations and organizations that keep back part of the profit to back the cause.

Characteristically, fundraising events organized by healthcare managers encompass bicycle rides, walk, and foot races where the participants plead for donations to cancer-associated contributions in return for such undertakings. Via mass-involvement occasions, cancer survivors created a single, unified group that talks, carries out activities, and shares a logical set of convictions. Such activities as fundraising also play a critical role in reinforcing the cultural association between each person’s physical, psychological, and moral well-being. Moreover, most of the fundraising events organized by healthcare managers are known to allocate approximately 26% to 34% of contributions to the money required to undertake the events and the advertisements (Alastair, 2010).


Healthcare managers can create promotional campaigns that can help advance cancer research. For instance, with the support of different organizations, healthcare managers in the US organize promotional campaigns each year to help breast cancer patients. Such campaigns are always successful since there can be no countermovement to oppose promotional campaigns intended to help cancer patients, and nobody considers cancer as desirable. Every twelve months, October is deemed National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and is esteemed through activities of regimes, healthcare managers, the press, and people living with and beyond cancer (Alastair, 2010). The promotional campaigns that are conducted in the course of the month encompass pink products for sale, and the NBCAM was started in 1985 by the American Cancer Society (that includes healthcare managers) and a corporation involved in pharmaceutics. The groups that take part in promotional campaigns during the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month seek to encourage mammography in addition to other detection methods in an attempt to triumph over breast cancer.

As part of the promotion, different milestones are marked in pink lights as a reminder of breast cancer, with community occasions like American football games making use of pink equipment. In support of healthcare managers, nonpublic corporations at times set a “pink day” where workers wear pink attire in favor of breast cancer survivors. Other events could be organized for people in particular societies, for instance, the Global Pink Hijab Day was begun, in the US, to seek for suitable healthcare and decrease the stigmatization of Muslim females with breast cancer. In most promotion platforms, hundreds of cancer-based products are designed for sale (Alastair, 2010). The majority of the designed products are usually daily commodities that have only been repackaged or relocated to cash in on cancer-associated promotion; the items could include candles, teddy, t-shirts, jewelry, caps, and teacups to mention a few. The repackaged items offer their customers a chance to concurrently purchase objects and give a donation to cancer organizations.

Some of the promotion items could be produced or sold by cancer survivors or charitable organizations in a bid to collect money to support cancer research and treatment. Other products could be intended for profits, as well as raising money, for instance, healthcare managers could woo manufacturers to produce commodities having pink logos, ribbons, or tags and donate some money from the sale in support of cancer research and treatment. The donations are characteristically set so that they attain a predetermined rate of sales, though, in most instances, some companies offer just free promotion for a chosen charity (Alastair, 2010). Even though promotion costs are not usually revealed, some corporations have been seen to pay out far more funds in the advertisement of “pink items” and linkups than they contribute to cancer organizations catering for cancer research and treatment. For instance, in 2005, 3M used 0.5 million US dollars in advertisements with pink ribbon logos and the sales were almost twofold what the corporation anticipated, but the promotion led to a 300,000 US dollars donation.

Company advertising campaigns, mainly sales promotions for items that have been found to be pollutant or have a connection to causing cancer, for instance, several pesticides, beer, high-fat foods, or some products utilized by many cosmetic corporations have been strongly criticized. The criticized promotions normally lead to a token contribution to cancer-associated aid by benefiting from the customers’ dread of cancer and misery for persons that have passed away to drive sales (Alastair, 2010). Opponents affirm that such promotions, which collect more than 30 million US dollars every year only from the promotions, do not assist in any significant way, but only enrich the advertising machines that create them. Research affirms that corporate support is vital to cater cancer research and treatment efforts. In 2010, the American Cancer Society used approximately 180 million dollars on public health edification and advocacy campaigns, 80 million dollars on cancer research, and 70 million dollars on management and tests for patients.


Healthcare managers can also help raise awareness for cancer research. This can be done through the creation of awareness programs that help people understand what cancer research is all about. This is an important role since it will even help people raise funds for cancer research. Healthcare managers can find cancer advocates operating at regional or national levels to raise awareness and edify the public concerning cancer and the significance of taking tests and early detection (Israel et al., 2013). In this regard, healthcare managers can promote awareness by talking to churches and civic organizations concerning vital concerns involving persons living with cancer, for instance, insurance rejection, employment bias, and inequality in care. Increasing awareness may as well entail being in touch with regional and national media to attract concentration to cancer-associated concerns. In setting platforms for cancer awareness, healthcare managers can boost responsiveness and decrease the stigmatization of cancer survivors through teaching on warning signs, early detection, care, and treatment. Healthcare managers anticipate that greater understanding will result to early discovery of cancer, which is linked to high long-run continued existence rates and that funds collected for cancer will yield an unswerving, successful, and lasting cure.

For breast cancer, the pink ribbon is the most highflying sign of awareness, and in different nations across the globe, October is set as the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Several breast cancer associations obtain considerable monetary support from corporate funding. The objective of breast cancer awareness crusades are to boost the people’s brand understanding for breast cancer, its discovery, management, and the requirement for a trustworthy cure. Enhanced awareness has augmented the level of women going for mammograms, the rate of early detected breast cancer, and the females obtaining biopsies (Israel et al., 2013). By and large, on account of awareness, cancers are being discovered at an early, more treatable phase; moreover, awareness endeavors have effectively employed marketing advances to decrease the stigmatization linked to the illness. In most instances, cancer awareness crusades have been exceedingly successful in drawing attention for the illness. Evidently, due to the extent of its awareness campaigns, breast cancer gets considerably more media coverage as compared to other prevalent diseases.

Development and Expansion of Research Programs

Healthcare managers have the power to help expand research programs across the board. This is especially so for healthcare managers in research hospitals. Without the support of healthcare managers, cancer research programs will remain powerless and will not achieve the goals they have set (Macara, 2002). It is, therefore, of great importance for healthcare managers to provide guidance on how to expand cancer research programs. For instance, cancer research programs could be organized in a way that will draw scientists, researchers, medical investigators from different sectors associated with cancer. Such programs would persuade the people already in research to come up with groundbreaking projects and expertise centered on considerable challenges and encourage the undertakings of future cancer researchers. Research programs support teamwork between researchers with varying proficiencies, leading to successful research partnerships. Healthcare managers can, in this regard, seek to create, enhance, and expand triumphant research programs.

Developing Patient Education Programs

Healthcare managers are constantly evaluating service to their patients. In this perspective, healthcare managers have the power to create patient education programs that are in line with the policies put in place. This will help patients have a better understanding of cancer research and participate where necessary as cancer education and backing create a significant section of the cancer research and treatment progression (Lomas, 2005). The objective of patient education programs is to boost the patients’ knowledge all through the fight with cancer as they endeavor to form new and better ways for patients to acquire a great deal evidence-based information needed, and they desire for effective judgment making.

Patient education programs could also be conducted to make sure that health caregivers are knowledgeable of the best way to handle patient’s edification and knowledge requirement all through the care progression, in a consistent way. With sufficient edification, cancer patients are strengthened and well capable of steering the system and formulating alternatives (Lomas, 2005). Through being excellently empowered, patients can have better control over their care as the education programs extend the entire range of cancer management and cure. The programs encompass everything from detection and prevention-anchored edification, diagnosis, cure, helpful care, survivorship, and quality of life. Patients, that have an excellent comprehension concerning their illness and the cancer care arrangement, succeed in different approaches, encompassing abiding by their treatment direction, symptom administration and well-designed status; lesser nervousness and enhanced management. In this way, healthcare managers can greatly contribute to the improvement of contentment with care through the patient education programs.

Clinical trials

Cancer clinical trials represent medical research studies where individuals take part as volunteers to experiment novel techniques of prevention, detection, diagnosis, and management of cancer. A number of cancer patients could dread that taking part in clinical trials signifies that they will not receive any cancer treatment (Whitehead, 2006). Apart from organizing the clinical trials, healthcare managers should thus seek to enlighten such patients that in the clinical trials they will obtain the most excellent cancer treatment presently discovered for their case, and a novel, and probably more successful, remedy. Moreover, they should make the patients aware that clinical trials are designed for every kind and phase of cancer, in addition to cancer prevention. Clinical trials could be carried out in the offices of healthcare managers, cancer centers, healthcare facilities, community health institutions, and other designated medical buildings across the US and in other parts of the globe.

Clinical trials could encompass players at a single or a couple of excellently specialized centers, or they could engage numerous locations at one fell swoop. Every clinical trial is administered by a research team that could encompass physicians, nurses, researchers, data analysts, and other experts, and could be organized by healthcare managers. The research team in clinical trials closely monitors the wellbeing of people participating in the trials and offers them particular guidance if need be. To guarantee the dependability of outcomes in trials, it is vital for the individuals participating in the trials to adhere to the instructions given by the research team. The instructions could encompass keeping records or responding to interview questions (Lomas, 2005). In addition, the research team could choose to contact some participants frequently after the clinical trial to obtain information concerning their health. Supporting clinical trials offers healthcare managers a chance to help in cancer research, for instance, healthcare managers could assist in augmenting the rate of people participating in the trials through placing advertisements on search engines, posters, and through the media.

Clinical trials are part of the highly intricate part of carrying out cancer research. Cancer researchers are often faced with the challenge of getting the trials approved and supported by medical personnel. Healthcare managers can support cancer clinical trials by encouraging patients to participate, and can also support clinical trials through the allocation of adequate staff members to help in completing these trials (Whitehead, 2006).

Advisory Boards

There are advisory boards in existence that evaluate and provide support to cancer researchers. As important stakeholders in cancer research, healthcare managers have to sit in these advisory boards and provide guidance for cancer researchers (Whitehead, 2006). This is an important role as it helps cancer researchers make wise decisions in relation to the research.


A discussion of the role of healthcare managers in cancer research is among those of great importance. In the past, many people have ignored the fact that healthcare managers can have a huge impact on the advancement of cancer research. This paper highlights these issues in a way that is easy to understand and answers important questions in the field. As cancer continues to affect more and more people, there is a need for inclusion of all stakeholders including healthcare managers in research. Leaving out some stakeholders will only serve to derail the research process (Soliman et al., 2013). Therefore, it is of great importance to highlight areas that healthcare managers can support in advancing cancer research. In fact, this study has shown that there are numerous areas that healthcare managers can come in and support cancer research. Researchers alone cannot achieve the goal of finding a cure for cancer; they require support from all directions. The support of healthcare managers is important since they play more than just an administrative role in healthcare facilities


Alastair, M. (2010). Structural Reform in Clinical Cancer Research. American Journal of Public Health, 100(4): 596-603

Frank-Stromborg, M., & Olsen, S. J. (2004). Instruments for clinical health-care research. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Israel, B. A., Eng, E., & Parker, E. A. (2013). Methods for community-based participatory research for health. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Jackson, B., & Kalucy, L. (2009). The primary role for people with cancer. Research Roundup Issue 5. Adelaide: Primary Health Care Research & Information Service.

Lomas, J. (2005). Using Research to Inform Healthcare Managers’ And Policy Makers’ Questions: From Summative to Interpretive Synthesis. Health Policy: 1(1): 55-71

Macara, A. (2002). Managing for Health: Why Health Care? Health Care Management Science, 5(4): 239-242.

Patlak, M., Nass, S. J., Balogh, E., National Cancer Policy Forum (U.S.), & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2011). The National Cancer Policy Summit: Opportunities and challenges in cancer research and care. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.

Schickedanz, A., & National Cancer Policy Forum (U.S.). (2009). Assessing and improving value in cancer care: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Soliman, A., Schottenfeld, D., & Boffetta, P. (2013). Cancer epidemiology: Low- and middle-income countries and special populations. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Wagner, E. (2000). The role of patient care teams in chronic disease management. British Medical Journal, 320 (7234): 569-572

Whitehead, D. (2006). Workplace health promotion: the role and responsibility of health care managers. Journal of Nursing Management, 14(1): 59-68.