The All.Can initiative

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Published: 24 Mar 2017
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Dr Matti Aapro - Genolier Cancer Center, Genolier, Switzerland

Dr Aapro speaks with ecancer at 2017 St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference about the All.Can initiative, which aims to reduce waste and improve innovation in developing cancer treatments.

He outlines next steps for the initiative, through publication of their position paper, to begin identifying key points in treatment development and administration where waste can be reduced across Europe.

Dr Aapro anticipates this international approach developing over the next year, and hopes that it may enable more localised engagement with treatment schedules.

All.Can is an initiative that was created a couple of years ago, if I remember well, especially on the basis of an initiative of the European School of Oncology of about five years ago where we started to look at two questions. One, access to innovation in general and, second, the fact that if we need to have more funds we cannot find them but what we can do is to look at the waste that exists all over the world and also in medicine and in oncology. All.Can then moved forward from this idea to try to convince many stakeholders about the fact that we can do something positive in order to improve patient treatment all over Europe.

At this point the All.Can Group has finalised a position paper which we hope to publish soon in a peer-reviewed journal which has already been presented at the ECCO meeting in January this year, 2017, in Amsterdam and previously at a session where some members of the European Parliament were present. This goes very much along with the initiative also of ECCO which has a position paper that is also submitted right now to a peer-reviewed journal that looks at what can the 27 (I hope I give the right number) member societies of ECCO do in this particular area of reducing waste, use less exams and improving the itinerary for the patients, simplifying the itinerary, and therefore increasing effectiveness in the approach to cancer treatment.

The next step is going to be identifying in several countries, we cannot do everything, what are some of the bottlenecks that can be relatively easily solved in order to decrease waste and improve the chances of access to better care in surgery, in radiation oncology and in medical oncology for our cancer patients in Europe.

Could you give me an example?

One of the typical examples here is that the organisation of many countries leads to the fact that the patient doesn’t have an itinerary, doesn’t know where to go. So there’s a waste in time when the patient hits first a general centre that has maybe a cancer sub-centre which is not then connected to the overall cancer scheme in the particular country. Then they have to wait for three weeks before they are first seen, another three weeks before they have the first X-ray that will or will not determine that a biopsy is needed of a particular lesion and so on and so on. These are things that can relatively easily be solved if you just see what is the reality in the different countries, just as an example.

What sort of timescales?

At this point we have finalised the basic thinking; we have started to put in place an initiative to look at, as I said in different countries, what are some of the issues and with the help of several patient organisations that have been leading a lot in this particular initiative. We hope by the end of the year to have identified some of the areas and in the meanwhile in different countries have started local actions in order to attract attention to the fact that beyond what we are trying to do many other people could do something if they suddenly realised that there are issues that could be easily solved if there was only the goodwill for that.