Why a Cancer Control Plan?
Controlling cancer in Europe will require the investment of substantial resources at national level and the effective coordination of policies (see www.epaac.eu/national-cancer-plans). A Cancer Plan is a public health programme designed to reduce the number of cancer cases and deaths and improve quality of life of cancer patients. It is designed with the aim of making the best use of available resources. A systematic approach to cancer can offer a more efficient way of tackling it.
Besides showing the road to follow, a European cancer control plan should materially provide for and foster implementation at national level. A simple, single European plan which measures progress, enhances what is already existing, shaped by multiple stakeholders, and sets European targets which can disrupt the current system and improve outcomes for all European cancer patients, is what European cancer patients aim to.
Why a European Cancer Plan?
Nearly all Member States have developed a National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP), following the Council Conclusions of 2008. A European plan should, on the one hand, ensure equal opportunities. Healthcare is organised at national level, and National Cancer Control Plans do their job, at least, they are in place, and this mission is nearly accomplished. On the other hand, however not every cancer patient in Europe gets the same level of cancer care. 5-year survival or mortality vary widely. And access to innovation is unequal. Every European citizen should have the same opportunities – whether they live in Sofia or in Munich or in Madrid.
What should a European Cancer Plan achieve?
A European Cancer Plan should have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We asked our audience in Gastein to tell us their views and their feedback clustered around three main themes: clinical measurements, financial measurements, and most importantly patient feed-back (measurements that make sense to patients).
- Incidence, mortality, 5-year survival rates, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) gained
- Public expenditure and investment in oncology, efficiency of screening/diagnosis, new technology in different stages of diagnostics, treatment & care, cost-effectiveness of public expenditure, percentage of access to innovative oncology treatments
- Time from diagnostic to treatment, return to work (number of people with cancer in active work), improved capacity of reintegration of the patient in society
Developing and agreeing on such indicators will help that every citizen and cancer patient benefits in the same way from cancer control and care across Europe.
How should a European Cancer Plan achieve its goals?
This sounds like a million-dollar question. Our intermediate response has been: collaboration. ECPC, ECCO and EFPIA have joined forces to launch this discussion, knowing there are neither simple solutions nor quick wins. But agreeing on the need and working together towards a solution for the benefit of the many cancer patients is already a first step. At Gastein we have invited a broader range of stakeholders, including academia, the European Commission, Patient Advocacy Groups, cancer scientific societies, research institutes, cancer centres, governments – and the audience. We invite you all to join us, we would like to hear from you how we can join forces for the benefit of European cancer patients. In order to continue this journey, we invite you to join us.
ECCO, ECPC, EFPIA