How to improve cancer care in Europe? Two reports propose solutions

Two comprehensive reports addressing cancer care in Europe have been published recently: «Past and current approaches to cancer care may not be sufficient for tomorrow. We face limited resources and a demand for cancer that will only increase in quantity and complexity in years to come. As a result, we need to find new ways to make the most of the resources we have» reads the first report, by the All.Can initiative collated and organised by the Health Policy Partnership with financial support from three pharmaceutical companies. The report was presented during a symposium at the ECCO congress at the end of January.

Key elements and quality standards for cancer control in Europe to help reduce disparities and inequalities

The second report was realised by the Joint Action on Comprehensive Cancer Control (CanCon) launched in 2014 by the European commission «to identify key elements and quality standards for cancer control in Europe to help reduce disparities and inequalities; and to facilitate co-operation among Member States. This includes the exchange of best practices as well as identifying and defining key elements to ensure optimal and comprehensive cancer care» as is explained in the «European Guide on Quality Improvement in Comprehensive Cancer Control», edited by Tit Albreht (National Institute of Public Health of Slovenia), Régine Kiasuwa (free University of Brussels) and Marc Van den Bulcke (Belgian Scientific Institute for Public Health), and realised with the multidisciplinary contributions of more than 67 authors from all over the continent, and beyond.

A more effective cancer control, based on the evidence and best experience

The guide, just published online, is meant as a «key strategic tool» for governments and policy makers on cancer screening, comprehensive cancer control networks, community-level cancer care and cancer survivorship and rehabilitation: «Together with the feedback received by all the stakeholders on the scope of this Guide, the recommendations provided in this report will help ensure that the Guide takes crucial aspects of care into account while respecting the existing organization of care within each country» writes in the foreword .

Besides the Guide, policy papers coordinated by a special Member state platform led by the Italian Ministry of Health aim to answer specific “hot themes” in the implementation of a more effective cancer control, based on the evidence and best experience.

The topics were suggested by the Member states, and cover public health genomics (A Public health genomics approach to “omics” in oncology), Common European objectives for National Cancer Control Plans (expected to be published soon), reallocation of resources for greater care and cost efficiency (Enhancing value of cancer care through a more appropriate use of health care interventions), prevention outcomes (An impact evaluation system to assess prevention outcomes), and inequalities in cancer control (A Equity mainstreaming in the cancer control in Europe).

Stakeholders like cancer patients, experts, and other relevant actors from all over Europe have been able to contribute and comment on the papers.

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