Lung Cancer Study Group

In European lung cancer week, GECP warns of inequalities in access to treatment between different countries in Europe

The European Lung Cancer Week is celebrated annually between 14th and 20th September. On this occasion, the GECP intends to warn of disparities in access to diagnosis and treatment among lung cancer patients in different countries in Europe. To this end, we released an important document published this year by LuCE, a European platform that brings together national groups for the defense of patients with lung cancer.

This 2020 LuCE Position Paper analyzes data on access to the treatment and diagnosis of lung cancer in different European countries, in order to promote awareness of inequalities. We highlight some realities revealed by this report:

LuCE provides a European platform for already existing lung cancer patient advocacy groups and supports the establishment of national lung cancer patient groups in different European countries where such groups do not yet exist.

This 2020 LuCE Position Paper covers data regarding access to lung cancer treatment and diagnosis, in order to raise awareness about access inequities among patients in European

Countries.

  • Delays in patient access to diagnosis occur across Europe. According to the survey, 42% of European patients wait more than two months from their first medical appointment (specialist or primary care) to diagnosis. Delays vary between countries, and in many cases asymmetries have also been reported within the country itself.

  • The experts consulted highlighted the following four main challenges in the diagnostic pathway at hospital level that may contribute to these delays: EBUS-TBNA, CT-guided needle lung biopsy, PET-CT and Molecular testing.

  • significant barriers in accessing new drugs occur in some European countries,  with Eastern European countries facing the greatest restrictions (namely Latvia, Poland and Romania).

  • Access to modern radiotherapy equipment differs among countries. Not surprisingly, there is a relationship between a country’s socioeconomic status and the availability of radiotherapy equipment.

  • There are tremendous disparities in the number of clinical trials taking place in each European country. According to the analysis carried out, the countries with the largest number of lung cancer trials are Switzerland, Israel, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. Croatia, Turkey, Germany, Greece and Bulgaria have the lowest number of trials.

In the end, the document proposes European policies that will lead to improvements in early detection, treatment and care, with ten proposals to improve access and reduce disparities:

  1.  Implementation of multidisciplinary tumour boards.

  2.  Need for broad panel testing to be adopted at national level.

  3.  Establishment of standardised procedures to send samples to other centers in Europe.

  4.  Development and accreditation of centers of excellence in lung cancer.

  5. Development and harmonization of guidelines on lung cancer across Europe, stimulating the development of uniform national lung cancer plans.

  6.  Development and harmonization of  health technology assessment (HTA) pathways to foster access to new innovation in Europe and standardization of drug costs and time to reimbursement

  7.  Following the ESMO Score of Clinical Benefit when deciding on reimbursement policies

  8.  Development of expanded access/compassionate access programmes in order to promote access to drugs, which have been approved by the EMA, but are not yet reimbursed.

  9.  Education for clinicians, advocates and people impacted by lung cancer

  10.  Promotion of patient engagement and involvement in research, reimbursement, HTA and in the decision making process of new policies, at national and European level.

With initiatives like this, we aim to move towards a Europe where all people impacted by lung cancer have access to the best diagnostic and treatment, irrespective of their geographical or socio-economic situation.

 

Find out more: https://www.lungcancereurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/LuCE-POSITION-PAPER-English.pdf

 

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