Oncology Writing Tips
10 Minute Read
In the wake of the 21st Century Cures Act (December 2016), the FDA has determined to accelerate the development of novel therapies and increase the speed of the review process, particularly in the field of cancer research. This is due to the realisation that the optimal way to manage cancer as a disease is through personalised medicine, which requires swift diagnostic and therapy production processes to work.
How does this shift in attitudes impact oncology medical writing? Apart from the urgency to advance research efforts and develop new clinical trial programs, studies are becoming more complex making data analyses and writing of these analyses more intricate. Digitalisation continues to transform the way people consume content and regulatory guidelines are evolving with the technological developments.
Oncology medical writing tips
At Inklab Communications we provide medical writing services to clients around the globe and below are some top tips for writers in the Oncology space.
1 – Gain oncology knowledge
It is important to have a strong grasp of the fundamentals of the field; chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology. When compiling data for a new manuscript, this knowledge will help create a coherent publication and prevent misinterpretation of findings. In oncology there are new targeted therapies emerging all the time and an in-depth knowledge of the field is crucial. For example, FDA’s Precision Medicine Initiative outlines new approaches to regulate genomic technologies. Becoming familiar with these standards ensures the production of an accurate publication.
2 – Develop expertise in ethical standards
Oncology medical writing faces specific ethical issues that are more stringent than in other therapeutic fields. One example of this is the fact that patients in oncology trials cannot be given a placebo. Summarising expert opinion on ethical issues can be difficult if the writer is not aware of potential controversies. One sure way to avoid any pitfall is to familiarise yourself strictly with ethical guidelines crafted from existing standards, internal reviews and discussions with peers.
3 – Understand GDPR and data protection
Digitalisation is changing the way we work and collaborate with others. For many, increasing technological advancement has enabled good home-working capabilities during 2020 when it has not been possible to access office spaces as easily. Everything is now electronically stored, with various levels of accessibility. Medical writers should consider the best ways to protect data accuracy and integrity and cooperate with team members to ensure regular backups and safety protocols.
4 – Develop interpersonal skills
In the oncology space more than in any other medical writers must be able to lead. Because of the many developments in the science writers need to be able to communicate effectively with KOLs and manage projects to ensure adherence to deadlines. Since they are tasked with gathering and creating a narrative with datasets from many sources, writers should establish themselves as excellent communicators. Communication between all stakeholders is the key to minimising the risks of failure, be it a refusal from the FDA or a study that never gets published.
5 – Add value to the communication
Medical writing tips always discuss impeccable grammar and spelling. What is often missing from the list is the importance of identifying where you can add value to the publication. Establish templates for each type of document, from content organisation to dataset size and definition, bookmarks, hyperlinks and formatting checklists. Another aspect to consider is the use of different content forms. Are written words the best way to convey your intention, or would graphics or videos be more impactful? Understanding your audience can help you answer questions like these.
The future of oncology medical writing
Medical writers are the voice that crafts research findings into a data-driven narrative meant to educate, promote and guide. With the emergence of personalised medicine, writers in the oncology field will need to continuously sharpen their skills, stay up-to-date with fast-paced breakthroughs, and train for the race against time.
Inklab Communications medical writing services are not one-size-fits-all. Each writing project is unique and combines the experience of many industry experts to deliver the content that fits your objectives and your audience.
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