The Sarcoma Policy Checklist was created by a multidisciplinary expert group to provide policymakers with priority areas to improve care for sarcoma patients.
This paper draws on this research, by looking more closely at how France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are addressing each of these priority areas. It aims to highlight key gaps in research, policy and practice, as well as ongoing initiatives that may impact the future care of sarcoma patients in different European countries. A pragmatic review of the published and web-based literature was undertaken. Telephone interviews were conducted in each country with clinical and patient experts to substantiate findings. Research findings were discussed within the expert group and developed into five core policy recommendations. The five identified priority areas were: the development of designated and accredited centres of reference; more professional training; multidisciplinary care; greater incentives for research and innovation; and more rapid access to effective treatments. Most of the countries studied have ongoing initiatives addressing many of these priorities; however, many are in early stages of development, or require additional funding and resources.
Gaps in access to quality care are particularly concerning in many of Europe’s lower-resourced countries. Equitable access to information, clinical trials, innovative treatments and quality specialist care should be available to all sarcoma patients. Achieving this across Europe will require close collaboration between all stakeholders at both the national and European level.