ECCO 13 - One voice, one vision needed to overcome cancer in Europe

Monday 31 October, Paris, France Despite improved technologies and treatments following a decade of exciting progress in cancer research, Europe is failing to meet the expectations of patient and healthcare professionals on the standard of cancer care according to the first patient programme held by Federation of European Cancer Societies at ECCO 13. The event, involving patients, healthcare professionals and politicians, found that many of these advances do not realise their potential due to diverse stakeholder agendas and no clear way to prioritise in the face of limited budgets. Europe now needs to face the situation of potentially having more technologies/treatments to offer than it can afford and subsequently needs to agree who decides where the money is spent.

In a step to address this issue, the Federation of European Cancer Societies is holding a three-day patient programme to debate what improvements need to be made and of these what constitutes a priority and have to ensure that the right decisions are taken. The meeting provided the opportunity for all interested parties to join together to form a common voice, and highlighted key decision making tools that can be used to improve the outlook for patients.

As Professor John Smyth, Director of the University of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, UK, stated, "Our first step in addressing the issue of our overstretched healthcare system is listening to the concerns and expectations of healthcare professionals and patients. As politicians are ultimately the people who make the decision about healthcare directives, it is important that they are involved throughout the discussions so as to ensure they can make informed and educated decisions. But when it comes to deciding what priority should be given to improvements in cancer care, the public needs to be encouraged to play their part in order to provide an impartial, unbiased opinion."

A Decade of Discovery or a Decade of Despair?'"/>

Contact: Kirsten Mason
Federation of European Cancer Societies

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