Leave no one behind: ECO is a partner of a new EU project addressing older people with cancer and their family caregivers

03 October 2022

Cancer disproportionately affects older people; a 60% share of the estimated new diagnoses and 73% of estimated deaths in 2020 occurred in persons aged 65 or older.

In the context of general population ageing, it is more important than ever to provide high-quality, equitable, and cost-effective care across the continuum of supportive, palliative, end-of-life, and survivorship care for both older patients and their family caregivers. This is why the European Cancer Organisation is delighted to participate in the newly launched EU NAVIGATE project, which is funded under the Horizon Europe EU research and innovation programme and held its kick-off meeting in Bruges on 19-20 September.

EU NAVIGATE  champions an interdisciplinary, cross-country and intersectoral approach, focusing on a Navigation Intervention (NavCare-EU) for older people with cancer and their family caregivers in different health care systems in Europe.

Navigation interventions are non-pharmacological interventions that aim to support, educate, and empower patients and address individual and community barriers to their timely access to the services and resources they need. Their central component is a patient navigator, a dedicated person engaging with patients on an individual basis[2]. Coordinated by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), EU NAVIGATE will adapt Canada's existing and successfully tested Nav-Care intervention, evaluate its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, as well as its implementation in different health care systems in Europe.

Reflecting on the project kick-off meeting, Andreas Charalambous, President of the European Cancer Organisation, said:

"By offering the prospect of a European adaptation of cancer navigation, EU NAVIGATE demonstrates excellence in advancing person- and people-centered cancer care. The European Cancer Organisation is delighted to participate and ensure the involvement of the wider cancer community in this crucial effort to reach the aspirations of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.”

Throughout the 5-year project duration, ECO will be leading its Work Package 8 supporting the project with the dissemination, exploitation, communication activities and stakeholder engagement to reach societal, scientific and economic impact.

ECO’s participation in EU NAVIGATE goes in line with our activities in the past years on highlighting and advocating for European action on all issues faced by cancer patients and survivors to achieve optimal quality of life and on all dimensions of cancer inequalities experienced across Europe, including in respect to the impact of age on access to cancer care.

This work is particularly involving our Patient Advisory Committee and Focused Topic Networks on Survivorship and Quality of Life, Inequalities and Quality Cancer Care, which will be actively consulted throughout the project on its research and recommendations. The active involvement of the European cancer community is crucial to attaining  Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’s goals of improving survivorship and quality of life and reducing cancer inequalities, as well as the European Code of Cancer Practice’s vision of a right for every cancer patient in Europe to quality treatment and care, regardless of their age. We will continue to do our part through the EU NAVIGATE project and other associated activities and look forward to engaging with all interested parties in this joint effort.

[1] Joint Research Centre. (2022). European Cancer Information System: 21% increase in new cancer cases by 2040. Joint Research Centre. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://joint-research-centre.ec.europa.eu/jrc-news/european-cancer-information-system-21-increase-new-cancer-cases-2040-2022-03-16_en

[2] Reid, A E, et al. The impact of patient navigation: A scoping review protocol. JBI Database Syst Rev Implement Reports 17(2019).