In recent decades cancer care has seen improvements in:
Such innovations are essential if we are to continue improving the lives of cancer patients across Europe despite financial pressures on our healthcare systems.
Panel discussion at the European Cancer Summit 2020 session on Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation.
To help health systems meet the decision-making challenges related to these new treatment options, members of the European Cancer Organisation have initiated many actions to assist. These include the EORTC Treatment Optimisation manifesto and projects orientated towards bringing about more value-based approaches in respect to innovation uptake. See “Related Resources” on the right-hand side of this page for further information.
The European Cancer Organisation's Focused Topic Network on Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation started its work in April 2020. Working with European Cancer Organisation Member Societies, Patient Advisory Committee and Community 365 participating in the Network, as well as with invited experts, the Network elaborated an Action Plan for its early work.
The guiding mission of the Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation Network is to bring about a reorientation of health systems and research approaches in cancer in order to achieve the twin aims of:
At the core of the Network’s Plan to achieve these aims is the conduct of independent research on multidisciplinary cancer treatment, following a reverse engineering approach to address gaps in the cancer research continuum and prioritise questions relevant and meaningful for patients and public health.
On 28 January, the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) held a hearing devoted to the equal access to cancer medicines and treatments. Speaking at the hearing, Dr. Denis Lacombe, Director-General of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and Co-Chair of the Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation Network, highlighted the need for the European Union to move further forward on achieving the ambitions of widely supported treatment optimisation agenda.
Dr. Lacombe drew the attention of the Committee to recent scientific evidence highlighting clear gaps in the cancer research continuum as well as in the knowledge on how to best use approved cancer treatments. These unaddressed areas are impeding patient access to optimal cancer treatment and yet are not gaining significant enough attention within prevalent EU strategies.
An important output of the European Cancer Organisation in 2020, with strong connection to the health systems and treatment optimisation agenda, was the publication of the landmark study “Strengthening Europe in the Fight Against Cancer: Going Further, Faster”. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee, received contributions from over 60 experts, including the Co-Chairs of the Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation Network and many of its participants. It gives a focus on access to multimodal cancer treatment, care and research, and includes a range of recommendations to European decision-makers and national governments on the means to take better account of the health systems and treatment optimisation perspective to elevate the standards of cancer treatment and care in Europe. Find out more about the study here.
Jan Geissler, Member of the European Cancer Organisation’s Patient Advisory Committee, speaking at the European Cancer Summit 2020 session on Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation.
The Co-Chairs of the Network hosted a session at the European Cancer Summit on 18 & 19 November 2020, seeking an expression of support from the cancer community for the Network’s guiding goals. Featuring interventions from top experts in disciplines relevant to the Network’s remit, as well as from a wide range of stakeholders, the session allowed for an open exchange on such matters as:
A resolution was passed by Summit participants, supporting the Network’s vision and aims:
“Research in cancer care should address questions relevant and meaningful for patients and public health. Such research should follow an independent process to support optimal access for patients to evidence-based multidisciplinary cancer treatment.
To achieve this, a reorientation of health systems and research approaches in cancer is needed. This requires addressing gaps in clinical and health services research applied to cancer through a reverse engineering approach, starting with better definition of the important clinical and public health questions.”
The Network is currently in the process of drafting a position paper for review by our Policy Approval Pathway. More information will be available soon.
To find out more about this Network, or support our work, please contact us here.