The number of cancer patients in Europe is rising and significant advances in basic and applied cancer research are making the provision of optimal care more challenging. The concept of cancer as a systemic, highly heterogeneous and complex disease has increased the awareness that quality cancer care should be provided by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of highly qualified healthcare professionals. Cancer patients also have the right to benefit from medical progress by receiving optimal treatment from adequately trained and highly skilled medical professionals. Built on the highest standards of professional training and continuing medical education, medical oncology is recognised as an independent medical specialty in many European countries. Medical oncology is a core member of the MDT and offers cancer patients a comprehensive and systemic approach to treatment and care, while ensuring evidence-based, safe and cost-effective use of cancer drugs and preserving the quality of life of cancer patients through the entire ‘cancer journey’. Medical oncologists are also engaged in clinical and translational research to promote innovation and new therapies and they contribute to cancer diagnosis, prevention and research, making a difference for patients in a dynamic, stimulating professional environment. Medical oncologists play an important role in shaping the future of healthcare through innovation and are also actively involved at the political level to ensure a maximum contribution of the profession to Society and to tackle future challenges. This position paper summarises the multifarious and vital contributions of medical oncology and medical oncologists to today’s and tomorrow’s professional cancer care.
Reprinted from Annals of Oncology 2014;25(1):9–15 with permission of Oxford University Press.
(BELG J MED ONCOL 2014;8(2):30–7)