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MedTech Europe Pushes for Better Cancer Diagnostics

Cancer laboratory technician alongside a quote from MedTech Europe report on cancer diagnostics.
In a new report, the trade association makes recommendations for a better future for cancer diagnostics in Europe.

Pointing to a rising burden of cancer in Europe, and fragmented access and delays in cancer testing, MedTech Europe released a report on the value of diagnostic information in cancer care. The report includes recommendations for improved policies across Europe regarding access to cancer diagnostics.

"With Europe's Beating Cancer plan as a backdrop, the time has come to implement policy changes that will provide patients with better access to screening and early diagnostics while improving patient outcomes," MedTech Europe noted.

The authors argue that the European Union and Member States need strong, coordinated policies that recognize the strength of robust cancer screening strategies and early detection. These policies must take a holistic approach – reflecting the value of diagnostic information across the full cancer care continuum (screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring) and for all stakeholders (patients, healthcare professionals, healthcare providers and the healthcare system as a whole), the association said.

MedTech Europe recommendations:

1. National cancer plans: There is an array of actions that the European Union can take to promote more robust national policies for prevention, screening, and early diagnosis, with a focus on improved programs, guidelines, infrastructures, and awareness, the MedTech Europe authors note in the report.

2. Cancer inequalities: Reduce cancer inequalities by assessing country performance in screening and early detection through the Cancer Inequality registries by ensuring that the used indicators include the rate of participation in cancer screening, the time to diagnosis, and the rate of early detection as well as the related enabling infrastructures.

3) Patient access: The European Union needs to enable broad and timely patient access to innovative diagnostics to improve cancer patient outcomes, according to MedTech Europe. Access to diagnostics allows for the most appropriate and personalized treatment for cancer patients, improving outcomes. This can be achieved by providing accelerated and permanent reimbursement of diagnostic tools and adopting EU-wide guidelines to ensure predictability and consistency across Member States, according to the report.

4) Value assessment: The report suggests that the methodology for assessing the value of laboratory diagnostics needs to be adapted to consider the value of testing for screening and early detection, the clinical value at each stage of the cancer care continuum, and the overall value for society from more people living longer and better quality lives, either in remission or living with cancer.

5) Healthcare systems preparedness: Actions must be taken to improve the preparedness and continuity of cancer care during future health crises by deploying funds for screening, modernizing relevant infrastructures, and a targeted approach to citizens, ensuring healthcare systems resilience, MedTech Europe argues. The association also says that targeted actions need to be taken at the EU level to address the COVID-19 backlog, and tackle delayed or undiagnosed cancers.

Full report: The Value of Diagnostic Information (VODI) in Cancer Care: Policy recommendations for a better future for cancer diagnostics in Europe.

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