Europe's leading oncologists called today (19 October 2002) for clinical services to be improved and standardised throughout Europe in order that all patients with cancer receive the best possible treatment. All governments must make more effort, they said, particularly in Eastern Europe, to provide the infrastructure that will enable physicians to treat their patients more effectively.
At the start of the Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology in Nice, France, Professor Heinz Ludwig, President of ESMO, said, "It is a tragedy that thousands of lives could be saved if there were more oncologists and more institutions dedicated to cancer care."
Not all countries recognise medical oncology as a speciality. "Medicine has become so complex that it is essential to specialise. But more than that, we need qualified and determined people with a genuine humane desire to improve people's health," said Professor Ludwig. To this end, ESMO sees its most important role in providing the best training for oncologists and publishing guidelines on Minimum Clinical Recommendations in order to be able to offer best possible care to cancer patients. By harmonising the quality of education for professionals all over Europe in co-operation with North America, training courses can be validated for global impact. Professor Ludwig's ambition as president of ESMO is "to improve education for professionals and focus more on our patients' needs. We will highlight to our members the importance of better communication with their patients."