It is a fact; cancer patients who are diagnosed and treated at excellent cancer care centres have better outcomes and can expect less complications, longer life and better quality of life than do patients who are not.
Each year in the Netherlands there are 4000 new patients diagnosed with oesophagus and stomach cancer. One third of these patients receive curative care. In 2016, also in the Netherlands, there were 806 oesophagus resections and 553 stomach resections all of which were carried out at 22 hospitals. These are way too many cancer care centres to offer these patients the best diagnostics, treatment and after care.
This must change immediately and that is possible. The need to gather all of the expertise for diagnostics, care and after care is high for this patient community. For example, patients who are treated in centres where high concentrations of these operations are carried out live longer and have a higher quality of life than patients who are treated at centres where only a few of these operations take place.
All of these patients deserve the best care possible and available. This can only be realised by bundling expertise. Inspire2live has developed a Manifest for concentration of oesophagus and stomach cancer care (only in Dutch) alongside experts. In this document, Inspire2live explains the way towards excellent care in oesophagus and stomach cancer care. The criteria to be met by excellent centres are also pointed out in the document.
The realisation of the concentration of high complex care is by no means simple, but that is no reason to let patients pay with their lives and their quality of life. The steps towards excellent care for these patients need to be taken, and we know how. The first step is the willingness of all parties involved. Do it, for all the patients with oesophagus and stomach cancers!