On World Cancer Day, ESMO, the leading European professional organization for medical oncology, puts cancer patients center stage by organizing a workshop dedicated to exploring ways that advocacy networks can drive research.
“Patients are the largest under-used resource of our health systems,” said Dr. Bettina Ryll, Sweden, Chair of the ESMO Patient Advocates Working Group. “They play a crucial role in adequately capturing patient needs and influencing change, such as equitable and sustainable access to therapies, patient-centric clinical trial designs, and direct contribution to pharmacovigilance in order to increase the safety of medicines by reporting side-effects.”
This year’s motto for World Cancer Day is: “We can. I can.”
“The ESMO workshop is a clear demonstration that this is very much true,” says Ryll.
Oncologists and other professionals are constantly pushing the edge of science to find new treatment options.
“Patients must not only be involved but can actually drive research,” said Ryll. “This workshop will give participants new insights and tools to help turn information into action.”
During the workshop, Prof Rolf Stahel, ESMO Past President, will present the ‘mapping for access’ project.
“Patient access to cancer medications in Europe (and elsewhere) is a key issue. Patients can play an active role in mapping access to treatments and in turning data into advocacy actions,” explained Stahel.
“As a society, we do not only have to take care of today’s but also of tomorrow’s patients, so the expertise of the current patient generation helps us to better serve future patients,” says Ryll.
ESMO advocates for improved access to medicines, both innovative ones and those that are often taken for granted in daily practice. To that end ESMO cooperated with the World Health Organization to update their Essential Medicine List last year.
“Some cancer treatments are still not accessible and patients have a major role to play to promote the equitable access and use of effective medicines,” said Stahel.
“Patients are the ultimate reason for healthcare and the primary data source to measure real need and impact,” says Ryll. “Advocacy groups with their wide-reaching networks are uniquely positioned to capture this type of information. The ESMO workshop will focus on how we, as advocates, can leverage the research potential of our networks and produce high-quality data as sound basis for our advocacy work.”
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Filed Under: Drug Discovery