European Standards of Care for Children with Cancer, a first step towards reducing inequalities

A scientific article by Pr Jerzy Kowalczyk and several co-authors from the SIOPE community (Pr R. Ladenstein, Pr G. Vassal, Pr K. Pritchard Jones, Ms Kienesberger, Dr M. Samardakiewicz, Ms. Essiaf, Ms E. Fitzgerald) has been recently published on the European Journal of Cancer. Current data shows that there is a 20% difference in outcomes for young people with cancer when comparing North and Western Europe with Central and Eastern Europe, and one of the most important necessities is to have centres that meet a minimum level of standards and are accessible to continuously updated ‘best practice’.

Following the engaged discussions on the same topic held on 18 February 2014 at the European Parliament, this outstanding contribution demonstrates the strenuous and long-lasting efforts of our community to address the unacceptable inequalities in paediatric cancer research, treatment and care that still exist across the different European countries. Since 2008, SIOPE has started to monitor the situation as concerns the current standards applied in paediatric oncology centres in Europe. Thanks to the successful collaboration between committed partners in our community, these efforts resulted in the important document โ€˜European Standards of care for Children with Cancerโ€™, a set of guidelines describing the minimum standards of care that should be implemented at the European level.

During the event ‘Tackling inequalities in paediatric cancer care and research across Europe‘, all participants agreed that all childhood cancer patients in Europe should have a greater access to the available standards of treatment and care, no matter their country of origin or residence, and theย Standards of care (already translated in 16 languages) are an essential instrument to achieve this aim.

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