As you may know the EU Commission launched a Cancer Beating Plan (CBP) in its Health priority. This plan will be presented in the first quarter of 2021.
The Council of Cardio-Oncology, working in collaboration with the ESC Advocacy Committee and the ESC Advocacy Division has had many exchanges with cancer associations about this very important topic in previous months.
A meeting with the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) representatives was held on 29th October during which we were invited to actively collaborate in the preparation of the documents submitted to the EU Commission. We were asked to contribute to the paper ‘Cancer Survivorship and Quality of Life: 7 immediate points for European action’, a synthetic action point about the vision of the scientific societies about the Cancer Beating Plan.
Seven priorities have been identified to be submitted to national governments, the European Union, WHO Europe and others in order to bring about a paradigm change in how health systems take better account of the survivorship and quality of life challenge in cancer care:
- It is time for action on cancer distress.
- Elevate management of pain and other symptoms: core parts of the cancer patient pathway.
- Cancer patients and survivors have sex lives too. Recognise this in health system approaches.
- Cancer comorbidities and complications: An ever-growing challenge in need of additional focus.
- Empower cancer patients and survivors. The importance of education and information.
- Provide cancer patients and survivors with the right to reintegration the workplace.
- Cancer survivors have a right for their cancer to be forgotten by financial service providers.
The ESC and the Council of Cardio-Oncology may have a role of paramount relevance particularly on point 4, where we need to focus on CVDs inter-relationship and cancer, starting from prevention of shared risk factors, to CV complications of cancer therapy, to difficult CV therapy issue in cancer patients.
We were invited to take a look at the sessions of the ECO Summit 2020, where we took notes of many important issues, relevant for both Cardio-Oncology and the ESC in the necessity of:
- A more co-ordinated collaboration with other European Associations in the field of CVDs.
- A deeper exchange with WHO.
- A deeper collaboration with patients’ associations through the Patients Forum of the ESC.
- A more co-ordinated ‘cross-fertilization’ among ESC Associations, WGs and Councils.
- Reshaping of some aspects about research due to: a) economic resources constrain, moreover after COVID pandemic, b) as a consequence major impact of industry on it, and as a consequence c) necessity that research is founded by national and EU governments to have an high quality of research with commercial equity, d) necessity to have research (RCTs) about cost/effectiveness of health measures, e) necessity to have research oriented to patients’ needs (essentially about QoL and similar issues) more than on pure clinical needs / outcomes, f) need to involve patients in research projects to establish their true needs and to find the right research questions, g) need to go in depth of research (behavioural, psychological, psychiatric, psychosocial research) about the behaviour of the population about the lack of appropriate lifestyle measures adoption and follow-up adherence.
We will have a new meeting with ECO on 10 December. We will keep you updated.
Dr. Riccardo Asteggiano MD FESC
Past Chair of the Council of Cardio-Oncology and Member of the ESC Advocacy Committee