Ali Stunt, our CEO and president of Pancreatic Cancer Europe (PCE), explains the new PCE heatmap and what this means for pancreatic cancer!
I am a founding board member of Pancreatic Cancer Europe (PCE) and currently its President. PCE is a European multi-stakeholder platform which brings together experts from all over Europe. It includes academics, physicians, politicians, patient groups, journalists and industries with a common interest and willingness to improve care for patients with pancreatic cancer. A key goal of PCE is to ensure that this cancer is not forgotten by policymakers, so that appropriate policies can be implemented.
What is the PCE Heatmap and why has it been created?
One of the ways we can help improve outcomes for patients across Europe, is to understand the difference between countries in terms of diagnosis, access to treatments and other key statistics. This is why we developed a PCE heatmap, to provide information on: awareness, cancer policies, diagnosis, the state of registries, research, available treatments, and public health data.
Information contained in the heatmap is updated regularly according to the latest published statistics and for any public policy developments on pancreatic cancer in each nation.
Where does this information go?
The information is then published in an annual report. The report is useful to highlight the key inequalities between countries for pancreatic cancer care and can be used to generate key messages for politicians in the EU on regional and national levels.
In July, a poster, written by Professor Nuria Malats and me, also a Board member of PCE, was presented at the ESMO GI conference in Barcelona at the beginning of July. The abstract has been published in the July edition of the Annals of Oncology[i].
The heatmap features nine countries as of March 2019, namely Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Austria and Sweden.
What does the heatmap show?
The data shows that all statistics measured (incidence, mortality, prevalence etc) are very diverse across Europe. These varying statistics are associated with seemingly unequal prioritisation of pancreatic cancer in national cancer policies. Not all practitioners are trained to detect pancreatic cancer, and registries are scarce in some European countries. Public funding also remains stubbornly low in all countries and public health data and exposure to risk factors is also greatly diverging between the nine countries in the heatmap.
From this we can conclude that not all patients are treated equally across Europe. It is important that we use this data to lobby politicians and policymakers in each country to ensure that patient experience and ultimately outcomes are equal in every European country.
Over time we will be adding more countries to the heatmap which will allow us to better analyse the situation of pancreatic cancer care in the region.