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Prostate Cancer Care in the European Union The Patient`s View

Submitted by on 10 Oct 2011 – 11:28

Prostate Cancer Care in the European Union The Patient`s ViewMr Günter Feick, Chairman Bundesverband Prostatakrebs Selbsthilfe, Bonn, Germany

Prostate cancer a stable, reliable, predictable illness is causing 60.000 men to die every year in the EU. While the suffering and sorrow is immeasurable, the cost of care to our public health systems measure up to 17 billion Euros in the EU for only the first year from diagnosis[1].  This figure does not address the amount of lost work years, cost of rehabilitation and indirect cost of care.

Our challenge

Attest to the joint experience of mankind that there is no end to improvement and we are capable to solve pressing issues in the most responsible, efficient and human ways.

What we should do in the EU about prostate cancer

Develop and organize an EU coordinated research program that will concentrate on the unsolved questions in basic, translational, clinical and public health research.

Update the EAU guidelines for the treatment of prostate cancer at intervals congruent with the developments of new methods of treatment.

Train physicians in all EU countries in applying the EAU prostate cancer guidelines within one year upon their publication.

Organize prostate cancer centres of excellence for interdisciplinary and intersectoral treatments with evidence based, standardized care and quality management systems.

Capture and report performance data comparing treatment facilities with world top level organizations and develop bench marks.

Who can do what in the EU?

The EU Parliament has taken a stand on 3 Feb. 2011 signing the declaration 80 for a Europe wide coordinated cancer research program, calling for -

Coordination, cooperation and coherence of pan-European cancer research activities, avoiding duplication and focusing on unmet needs in cancer treatment

Partnerships with patient groups, harnessing their specific expertise and knowledge in support of accelerated research progress.

The EU Commission guides the development and execution of an EU prostate cancer research and treatment program for drastically reducing the suffering of patients and cost of prostate cancer.

The European scientific and medical societies follow through with the EU commission program by designing and executing those processes that will make Europe the leader in prostate cancer treatment.

The EU member states health insures companies reimburse evidence based medicine only and support prostate cancer research programs as means for better treatments and less total cost.

The European prostate cancer coalition UOMO represents prostate cancer patients and their significant ones in the public health processes and organizations and informs and supports patients individually.

Current concerns in prostate cancer treatment in the EU

We are still not sure, who of those should be treated, who can be cured, and who of those who need a cure, can be treated.

Containing health care cost while affording access to new medications require individualized treatment schedules for which there is not sufficient knowledge available at this time.

Patients in the advanced stage of prostate cancer need our utmost attention.

The determination of the willing and the capable in the medical family is urgently needed for working smart in a dedicated collaboration.

A medical network treating the advanced stage patients in clinical trials (investigator initiated and pharmaceutical industry induced) and with an organized information exchange among the collaborating treatment facilities, will improve treatment outcomes.

Patient endpoints must take precedence over any other consideration in the EU public health care systems. They can be summarized as follows –

  • improved state of health
  • reduced time of illness
  • extended time of life
  • reduced treatment side effects
  • improved quality of life

Individual dismay brings into being the ability of support groups to act as patient advocates in the health and social systems of EU member states. Support groups provide feed back and innovation impulses for the professional health care system. Understanding and applying these facts makes health care more profitable and improves quality of life.

Equal access to the best treatment within the EU remains our goal we must keep working towards. Current disparities are difficult to accept and are unethical in a European Union founded on the basic values of solidarity and equality.

 

[1] A retrospective analysis illustrating the substantial clinical and economic burden of prostate cancer. Crawford ED, Black L, Eaddy M, Kruep EJ