With 35,000 new cases every year, childhood cancer is an urgent public health issue in Europe. Access to care is unequally available across the region and, in spite of the progress achieved, cancer remains the leading cause of disease-related death for children beyond one year of age.
Under the coordination of the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE), the European Paediatric Haemato-Oncology community is currently making the final fine-tuning of a shared ‘Roadmap for children and adolescents with cancer’. This document aims to increase the rate and the quality of cure in the next decade by targeting 7 major objectives:
- Introducing safe and effective innovative treatments into multidisciplinary standard care;
- Driving therapeutic decision by improved risk classification, the use of molecular characteristics and precision medicine;
- Increasing knowledge of tumour biology and speeding up translation to benefit patients;
- Increasing equal access across Europe to standard care, expertise and clinical research;
- Addressing the specific needs of teenagers and young adults;
- Addressing the quality of survivorship;
- Understanding the causes of paediatric cancers and setting prevention where possible.
Developed from consolidated pan-European expertise and in cooperation with patient groups, the strategy is the outcome of the coordinating efforts of SIOPE and ENCCA. At the recent SIOPE-ENCCA Conference (18-19 September 2014, Brussels, Belgium) it successfully achieved broad multi-stakeholder consensus from across the spectrum of cancer actors.
Set to strongly influence the paediatric haemato-oncology landscape, the initiative is the outcome of a close partnership among all involved stakeholders – including experts at the global level – and demonstrates commitment to making progress for children and adolescents with cancer. Some of the platforms and cross-tumour programmes identified in it are already operational and – following the successful endorsement of the SIOPE-ENCCA-ICCCPO Electoral Manifesto – the SIOPE community has established closer partnerships with parent/patient/survivor advocates, adult oncology, industry and paediatric haemato-oncology in other continents. SIOPE is in the process of initiating the programmes identified therein to ensure effective implementation.