Once common needs are established, the Working Group will collaborate closely with the ESMO Leadership to develop educational activities and products, in order to meet Community Oncologists' needs.
Dr Michalis Karamouzis, from St Savvas, Anticancer Oncologic Hospital in Athens, Greece and also a member of the new working group, explains some of the challenges of a young community oncologist: "According to my experience in Greece, Community Oncologists are doing very challenging work as they see most of the patients, not only those involved in clinical trials, but patients with all sorts of tumors, frequently with difficult tumors, patients with bad performance status, all sorts of complicated cases, including those who need supportive or palliative care."
The way in which the treatment of cancer patients is organized --and patients' preferences-- also varies largely among European countries.
In Italy, Dr Sergio Crispino, Chair of the Italian Association of Hospital Oncology Chiefs (Collegio Italiano dei Primari Oncologi Medici Ospedalieri - CIPOMO) explains that "Many patients are treated in non-academic units. At present, in Italy, general hospitals contribute substantially to clinical research and have very advanced standards and treatments."
In Italy the patient's choice between a university hospital or a community setting would also depend on the region the patient lives in and the kind of cancer he has. "We cannot generalize. Patients are usually guided in their choice by family doctors," explains Dr Crispino. "In the future, my personal view is that community oncology will grow because we are standardizing treatments so the quality of care will be similar in all centers. The development of oral drugs and gentler treatments will also contribute to this growth."
The challenge today is to be able to provide quality care for patients from diagnosis until the en
|Contact: Vanessa Pavinato|
European Society for Medical Oncology