Concrete, decisive action to advance childhood cancer research, treatment and care are expected from the new Members of the European Parliament
SIOPE effectively challenged the European institutions and civil society to act and support children and young adults with cancer on 18th February 2014 at the European Parliament.
On this occasion several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different countries and party groups, including candidates running for the upcoming European elections in May, agreed to endorse the SIOPE-ENCCA-ICCCPO electoral Manifesto for Paediatric Oncology, a fundamental document which unites all stakeholders around concrete objectives to advance childhood cancer research, treatment and care.
The Manifesto has been already signed by MEPs Pr Philippe Juvin (France, EPP), Dr Antonyia Parvanova (Bulgaria, ALDE), Mr Alojz Peterle (Slovenia, EPP), Ms Linda Mc Avan (UK, S&D) and Ms Glenis Willmott (UK, S&D), and it is currently open for endorsement on our website by all those who care for the future of children affected by cancer.
During the high-level event ‘Tackling inequalities in paediatric cancer care and research across Europe’, which MEP Ms Glenis Willmott kindly agreed to host and which was co-chaired by MEPs Ms Linda McAvan (UK, S&D) and Mr Alojz Peterle (Slovenia, EPP), some key areas of work have been identified:
- Clinical trials are the foundation of progress in paediatric oncology, and they should be better regulated at the European level;
- Patients from all over Europe should have a greater access to clinical trials and state-of-the-art treatment and care;
- Childhood cancer registries are essential to monitor treatment outcomes, and should be implemented in all European countries;
- Sustainable support for childhood cancer survivors and long-term follow up should be provided across Europe;
- Healthcare professionals working in paediatric oncology should have continued access to medical education;
- More information on the disease and its treatment should be made available to patients and their families;
- Strategic partnership with parent/patient organisations is a driver of positive change;
- Outcome research should be enhanced in Europe.
The event provided a platform for all relevant stakeholders to speak on the burning issues from their unique perspectives. Childhood cancer parents and survivors, as well as paediatric oncologists and representatives from the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions actively described all the hurdles currently hampering patients’ and survivors’ access to standard treatment and care in different regions of Europe.
On the basis of the findings from the EUROCARE 5 report on childhood cancer survival, and on the recommendations set by the European Standards of Care for Children with Cancer, all speakers and panellists agreed on the need to increase the cure rate for poor prognosis paediatric malignancies and to enhance the quality of cure in survivors, addressing the existing inequalities in terms of research and care. The importance of reinforcing the collaboration between all stakeholders was central to the event.
The paediatric oncology multidisciplinary community has the potential to bring about a breakthrough in cancer research and care, leading to major impact on the lives of childhood cancer patients, parents and survivors.
‘Tackling inequalities in paediatric cancer care and research across Europe’, 18th February 2014, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, Event webpage
Prof Gilles Vassal, SIOPE President (Samira Essiaf, firstname.lastname@example.org)