I wish to express my best wishes of success to the European Society of Oncology Pharmacy and to all participants in this European Congress on Oncology Pharmacy 2016 in Dubrovnik.
Cancer is not something that only “happens to other people”. Most people I know have been affected by cancer in one or another way. They have either survived cancer or supported a loved one. Unfortunately, I know myself first-hand what it is like to lose close family members to this terrible disease.
On the top of the fact that cancer makes us go through extremely difficult times and more often than not a lot of pain, it also affects our societies and healthcare systems. In the European Union, in 2012 alone, 2,6 million European Union citizens were diagnosed with some form of cancer, and 1,26 million died of cancer. Given today’s incidence rates, we expect that in the European Union, 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women will be directly affected by cancer before reaching 75 years of age.
Fighting cancer is, and must remain, a high priority at all levels. As a European Commissioner for health, contributing to cancer prevention, screening and care is a priority for me. I am committed to keeping high on the agenda our joint efforts to fight cancer, and to help those who suffer from cancer or have survived cancer. Indeed, for over 30 years, the European Commission has contributed towards addressing the cancer challenge.
Just last year, the Commission launched a Joint Action on Comprehensive Cancer Control. This action will identify quality standards for cancer control in Europe; and facilitate co-operation and exchange of best practices among Member States, so as to help improve care and reduce inequalities across the EU. At a national level, a key requirement for successful cancer management is the development of National Cancer Control Plans. The Commission has helped Member States develop and implement such plans.
Clearly, close co-operation between oncology physicians and oncology pharmacists is essential for optimal patient care. Oncology pharmacists have the training and expertise that places them in a position to provide evidence-based care to cancer patients, including initial treatment decisions and subsequent therapeutic management, supportive care, and survivorship.
This 2016 European Congress will focus on promoting the highest standards of pharmaceutical care in the management and support of patients with tumours. These areas also resonate strongly with the cancer research and cancer care communities as they strive to reduce both the incidence and mortality of this disease. These are also the areas where real difference can be made for people who suffer, if only making it just an ounce less unbearable….
I wish you a productive and successful congress.
Cabinet of Commissioner Vytenis ANDRIUKAITIS
Health & Food Safety