A conjoint strategy to fight cancer

Despite the growing number of research projects aimed at preventing and curing cancer, the disease is still one of the main causes of death around the world, with approximately 9.6 million deaths resulting from tumors in the year 2018 according to data from the World Health Organization. The tumors responsible for the highest number of deaths on a global bases have been lung cancer (18.4%), the colorectal cancer (9.2%), the stomach cancer (8.2%) and liver cancer (8.2%), according to the “Las cifras del cáncer en España 2020” (Spanish only version available) prepared by the Sociedad Española de Oncología Médica.

This disease not only have not lowered its number of cases but has been growing every year.  Having been accounted 18.1 million new cases globally in 2018, according to the data published by the Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBLOCAN), projections indicate that the number of new cases will go up during the next two decades to up to 29.5 million on the year 2040.

In this fateful scenario, it becomes unavoidable to enhance the results of the therapeutical developments and to get more efficient and faster detection systems. For that, the European Commission is concluding the Europe Beating Cancer Plan, which is scheduled to be published by the end of this year. What is known up until this moment is that the new communitarian strategy will include concrete measures to deal with every step of the disease: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, palliative care and long-term survivors.

In Spain, on its own a series of scientific societies and associations have signed a joint declaration in which some measures to fight this disease are highlighted and the restart of the National Plan against Cancer is requested, as the last update to that plan dates from 2005. The ten main issues presented are as follows (a Spanish version only of the full plan can be found in this link):

  1. Enhance the information and prevention, early detection, waiting lists or palliative care.
  2. Earmarked financing to manage efficiently the incorporation of innovation and to guarantee the system’ sustainability.
  3. Patient “empowerment” through the humanization of the oncological assistance and thorough information, helping to implement the shared decision-making process and a patient centered medicine.
  4. Increase of the resources directed to research.
  5. Equity in the oncological assistance. To eliminate possible needs and hurdles, offering fast and homogeneous access paths to drugs for all patients of the national health system.
  6. New management and organizational assistance models for the provision of oncological care.
  7. Inclusion of biomarkers in the service portfolio, lowering of the clinical variability and effective implementation of cancer documenting.
  8. Effective integration of precision medicine and advanced therapies changing the model towards one oriented to obtaining better results.
  9. Redesign and catalogue action plans in future healthcare emergencies.
  10. Reactivate as a priority the National Plan against Cancer with coordination at the Health Ministry level.

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