Global sales of oncology drugs exceed US$100 billion, with emerging economies seeing some of the highest rates of demand growth in this market segment. Brazil represents one of the largest oncology opportunities within emerging markets. But despite Brazil’s progress in treating cancer, standard estimates of the patient base underestimate the opportunity, according to an L.E.K. Consulting study.

For example, although Brazil’s National Cancer Institute estimates there are 393,000 new cases of cancer in the country, we estimate that this figure does not include 40% to 45% of Brazilians with cancer — more than 200,000 patients per year — who are “unidentified” in the healthcare system because a correct diagnosis is not received or concluded and therefore is not included in the mortality database.

In this Executive Insights, our research suggests that by carefully targeting selected activation points in appropriately chosen cities, pharmaceutical companies can systematically boost early patient identification, thus significantly improve treatment outcomes and increasing revenues.

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