24. 06. 2020

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal tumours, and it is the fourth cause of cancer death in Europe. Despite its important public health impact, however, there are no effective treatments or high-visibility research efforts.

This alarming situation is emblematic of a larger group of cancer diseases, the so-called “neglected cancers”. In a bid to address this group of diseases in a coordinated way at the European level, a workshop was organised under the umbrella of the iPAAC Joint Action, involving representatives from medical societies, patient associations, cancer plan organisations, and other relevant European health care stakeholders.

After conducting a systematic review of the literature, a central discussion took place during a meeting in Bratislava on 16–17 September 2019. This led to a definition of the key steps that health care systems can rapidly implement to address pancreatic cancer while maximising the value of health care resources. This consultation also set the groundwork for prioritising pancreatic cancer as well as other neglected cancers at the national and European level.

This initiative resulted in twenty-two consensus recommendations for providing high-quality care for patients with pancreatic cancer. Substantial improvements can be achieved in patient outcomes by organising pancreatic cancer care around state-of-the-art reference centres, staffed by expert multidisciplinary teams. This organisational model requires a specific care framework that encompasses all levels of health care services, incorporating quality criteria and performance assessments.