Developed in discussion and agreement with members of the European Cancer Organisation and its Patient Advisory Committee, the following 12 points are intended to provide a checklist to ensure that Europe's Beating Cancer Plan meets the needs identified by the stakeholder community.
In any arena of life, setting goals can push things forward. In healthcare and other policy areas, targets help to break down barriers between political groupings, government agencies, professions, other stakeholders and interest groups as all work towards a shared aim. Clear goals energise and make actions measurable with respect to the impact being achieved.
Potential goals suggested by the European Cancer Organisation include:
The full cancer community across Europe should be engaged in the design and implementation of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. This will assist to ‘get things right first time’ through testing of proposals, and avoid reinventing of the wheel.
The quality of cancer care that patients receive matters. The management of cancer care is complex. To achieve the best results for the patient, coordination and cooperation between disciplines is essential. Each profession brings unique skillsets and insights to the decision-making process on individualised patient treatment. It is multidisciplinarity and multiprofessionalism that ensures such teamwork occurs.
To help advance the development of this agenda, the European Cancer Organisation recommends that the Beating Cancer Plan include a ‘European Cancer Dashboard’ that monitors and reports on the levels of access being achieved in countries on matters such as access to screening, medicines, radiation therapy, oncology surgery, supportive care, pathology, imaging, specialist cancer nursing, oncology pharmacy, interventional radiology, nuclear medicine, palliative care, and psycho-oncology.
The European Cancer Organisation warmly supports the intention of a ‘quality of life’ section to Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, encompassing attention to cancer survivor issues.
We recommend that the Beating Cancer Plan include ambitions to achieve ‘the right to be forgotten’ for cancer survivors in all countries. Designed as a means to prevent discrimination in access to mortgages, loans, and insurance, ‘the right to be forgotten’ means cancer survivors not needing to declare their cancer 10 years after the end of the active treatment and 5 years if they had cancer under 18 where financial services are concerned. This is in line with legislation already in place in France and Belgium.
We also recommend attention to cancer patient’s right to access supportive care, including but not limited to, pain management, psycho-social support, sexual counseling, palliative care, and occupational therapy rehabilitation.
Members of the European Cancer Organisation have been leading international initiatives in areas such as Survivorship Care Planning and ‘Survivorship Passports’, important reference points for the Beating Cancer Plan's survivorship content.
There is a growing recognition of the depth and value of the roles primary care healthcare professions can provide in advancing the quality of cancer care and outcomes for patients. This includes areas such as prevention, early diagnosis, management of co-morbidities, and long-term follow up care.
Ways in which the Beating Cancer Plan could support the elevation of primary care roles in the cancer care pathway include by:
Levels of health inequality between countries and regions in respect to cancer prevention, control, access to treatment, and survival are both wide and varied. The situation is particularly challenging in Eastern Europe, with survival for many cancers below the European average. Inequalities also occur between social groups, between regions within countries, and between patient cohorts e.g. by age.
Recommendations made by the European Cancer Organisation in this respect include:
Recommendations by the European Cancer Organisation on healthcare professional education and mobility include:
Recommendations for the Beating Cancer Plan on improving data use and the evidence environment include:
On cancer prevention, the Beating Cancer Plan should include:
The Beating Cancer Plan should:
Recommendations for the Cancer Plan in respect to cancer screening include:
- Strengthening screening coverage targets
- Going further in ensuring best practice implementation
- Bringing about an update to the 2003 EU Council Recommendations on screening
- Accelerating uptake of new diagnostic technologies
Means by which Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan can advance more equitable access include by: