Stakeholders Unite: Time to Charge Up Pancreatic Cancer Care Across Europe!

14 December 2021

The European Cancer Organisation, in strong alliance with a collaboration of 22 healthcare professional and patient organisations, is today marking the publication the "Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care: Pancreatic Canceras the Innovative Partnership for Action Against Cancer (IPAAC), which sponsored their creation, comes to a close at its final conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

This new consensus charter for improved care and standards for a too-long neglected tumour type, sets out in clear terms how health systems in all countries can better organise the key elements of service and treatment to pancreatic cancer patients. Such change is urgently needed to increase quality and improve outcomes.

Written and agreed by patient representatives and experts representing all the key disciplines involved in pancreatic cancer care, fundamental points of recommendation from the Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care: Pancreatic Cancer include:

  • Care must be carried out only in pancreatic cancer units or centres that have a core multidisciplinary team (MDT) and an extended team of health professionals.
  • Organisation of care must place a particular emphasis on reducing the all-too-common experience of delay in starting surgical treatment.
  • Patients diagnosed with advanced disease require immediate supportive care for symptoms including pain, digestive obstruction, nutritional-based weight loss and cachexia (cancer-induced wasting), and depression and distress after diagnosis.

The Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care: Pancreatic Cancer then goes out to set out in detail the membership of the core and extended multidisciplinary teams for pancreatic cancer care, as well as the roles played by each profession within those teams. Other matters included within the manuscript’s wide coverage include recommendations on patient information needs, outcome assessment and research participation.

Prof. Francesco Sclafani, Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Institut Jules Bordet – Université Libre de Bruxelles, in Belgium, and Co-Chair of the Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care: Pancreatic Cancer, said:

“In the medical world we are all familiar with the benefit and value of clinical guidelines. These are superb tools for practitioners. However, what we often miss is the helicopter view. A vision for the total care and treatment package. That is what our new consensus agreement helps to establish. We set out in detail, ALL the components of care required for patients with pancreatic cancer, as well as the agreed roles of differing professions.”

Prof. Stefano Partelli, Associate Professor at Libera Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Italy and Co-Chair of the Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care: Pancreatic Cancer, added:

“For a tumour type such as pancreatic cancer, we know there is still so much to be achieved in respect to research and advanced treatment strategies. But we also know we can do so much more with what we know: an integrated multidisciplinary approach is associated with better outcomes. We believe that the Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care: Pancreatic Cancer mark an important contribution in that sense.”