All.Can Spain has published its 1st report, focused on identifying the reasons why cancer patients feel sometimes lost within the system from the appearance of symptoms up until diagnosis and bringing solutions for their overcoming.
To that end, its Scientific Committee has identified 8 recommendations to ensure and optimize the quality of care in the 1st phase of the circuit, set out in the report entitled The cancer patient experience: optimising the circuit and improving care and coordination until diagnosis. Eight recommendations for a real change (download full version here (Spanish) and executive summary here (Spanish) (English).
Indeed, these recommendations aim to overcome the fragmentation and lack of coordination that still exists, which contributes to the patient´s feeling of being sometimes “lost in the system”, increasing their uncertainty and concern when faced with suspicion of cancer.
The report has particular relevance in view of the forecast that, in 2022, around 280,100 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Spain, and the estimate is that this will increase to 341,000 new cases in 2040. Today there are more than 300 deaths and some 760 new diagnoses every day, alarming figures which, however, are unknown to the vast majority of Spaniards. In addition, a study in the prestigious journal The Lancet warns that, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, up to 100 million cancer screening tests were not carried out in Europe, which means that one million Europeans could have undiagnosed cancer as a result.
Faced with this reality, the Committee insists on the need for improvements to ensure coordinated, flexible and quality care at this first stage of the care circuit, as the numerous interactions between cancer patients and the health system in the initial phase “do not always provide the expected value, making access to the system difficult and generating added confusion”. In this sense, the information received by the patient is often “not very comprehensible and discordant”, according to the experts.
In the words of Dr. Rafael López, President of the Foundation for Excellence and Quality in Oncology (ECO), “the healthcare system is not always designed to ensure that the care received by the patient is of the highest quality, but rather, on many occasions, responds to the needs of the system itself. This dissociation has clear undesirable effects that we must overcome: many interactions provide little value, increase lack of coordination between levels, cause delays and often leave the patient feeling confused and disorientated”.
For their part, Patients who are part of All.Can Spain, agree in confirming this feeling of being lost in the system through their very own experience. “Sometimes, in addition to the deep concern about the process leading up to diagnosis, there is an additional concern about having to deal with a fragmented system where it is not clear what steps to take, what information we receive or what psychosocial support is available. Improvements need to be made, as we often feel lost along the care continuum,” they explain.
To reverse this situation, the All.Can Spain report has identified eight key recommendations:
1. Increased coordination at the national level of all actors involved
2. Enhanced tools in Primary Care
3. Effective and widespread implementation of clinical pathways
4. New role for nursery
5. Enhanced communication with the patient
6. Availability of psychosocial support
7. Existence of Tumour Committees
8. Develop a quality framework to measure, benchmark and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of diagnosis
These recommendations will be shared with health key decision-makers in Spain, in line with All.Can Spain’s vocation to contribute to the adoption of real, tangible changes for the benefit of patients and the cancer care system in Spain.
- REDECAN: Estimaciones de la incidencia del cáncer en España, 2022.Red Española de Registros de Cáncer (REDECAN), 2022
- SEOM, Las cifras del cáncer en España, 2022
- Fundación ECO: ¿Qué piensa la sociedad española del cáncer? (Fundación ECO para la Excelencia y la Calidad de la Oncología), diciembre 2022
- European Groundshot—addressing Europe’s cancer research challenges: a Lancet Oncology Commission, noviembre 2022