All.Can Roundup #5
A regular roundup of cancer policy, research and opinion from around the world #AllCanRoundup
Policy and initiatives roundup
Campaign marks Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week
The Make Sense campaign, an initiative from the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS), is currently running, during Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (18–22 September).
Various stakeholders are organising events and communications to raise awareness about head and neck cancer, focusing on prevention and early diagnosis. Early diagnosis day clinics and informative sessions are being organised in more than ten European countries, and patient stories on social media help people understand the burden of head and neck cancer on a personal level.
The EHNS provides a campaign toolkit and offers way to engage on its website.
Visit the website: The Make Sense campaign
Survey explores care of adolescents and young adults with cancer
The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) published the results of a survey among their members to examine current training and practice in care for adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer.
The results reveal a significant under-provision and inequity in AYA cancer care across Europe. More than 67% of respondents did not have access to specialised centres for the treatment and after-care of young patients. Further, there is great variation in the extent of available services between south-eastern and north-western Europe. On average, for example, 38% responded that they did not have access to fertility specialists, but in Eastern Europe this figure was 76%.
Read the survey results: The care of adolescents and young adults with cancer: results of the ESMO/SIOPE survey
Improving care through enhancing patient–clinician relationship
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has published guidelines on how to use communication effectively as a tool to enhance the patient–clinician relationship and thus improve care and wellbeing.
The recommendations are the result of a systematic review and consensus of a multidisciplinary expert panel. They name core competencies needed and outline strategies on how to discuss goals of care and prognosis, treatment options and end-of-life care. They also talk about ways of involving family and careers and responding to needs of underserved populations.
US programmes improve efficiency by focusing on patients
Two innovative programmes in the USA aiming at improving patients’ quality of life and making care more efficient have shown to significantly lower costs of care, as well as hospitalisations and emergency department visits. The COME HOME programme allows patients to switch to outpatient care when possible. To manage their care needs, patients can receive education about symptom and medication management and have access to a 24-hour specialist helpline.
Patient Care Connect is a lay patient navigation programme, training patients to help other patients in making treatment choices and providing support as a care navigator.
New therapies ‘closing in’ on cancer
The current issue of The Economist has a focus on cancer, including an editorial about new therapies ‘closing in on cancer’. While reminding us of the grim reality of the burden of cancer and the complexity of its management, it also discusses promising scientific advances. It suggests science will eventually win the technical battle against cancer, turning it into a manageable condition – but we are only halfway through this battle.
The magazine’s Technology Quarterly looks at ‘Targeting tumours’, shedding light on practice and innovation in cancer care.
Read the editorial: ‘Closing in on cancer. New therapies, new priorities’
Read the cancer-focused supplement: Technology Quarterly: Targeting tumours
Focus on human tissue may indicate whether tumours are malign
An article in The New Yorker makes the case for a holistic approach to curing cancer – but perhaps not in the way we would usually consider the term ‘holistic’. It argues that, while we usually focus on the cancer (the ‘seed’), focusing on its host tissue (the ‘soil’) can help us predict whether a tumour is going to be malign.
Read the article: Cancer’s invasion equation