Cancer: too few patients benefit from supportive care

Cancer too few patients benefit from supportive care

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    The League against cancer publishes its 9th societal observatory of cancers, this September 20. The opportunity for the association to denounce the inequalities that remain between cancer patients in access to support care, depending on their age, their financial situation or their geographical location.

    For this new edition of its societal observatory of cancers, the League against cancer is interested in the management of the consequences of cancer. Support care, coordination of care, health crisis… The results show deep inequalities.

    Vulnerable profiles more affected

    There are currently around 3.8 million French people aged 15 and over affected by the disease in France, according to League estimates. According to Lucie Vialard-Arbarotti, Project Manager for the Societal Cancer Observatory, “84% of respondents to the survey, regardless of the age of the diagnosis, feel at least one physical or psychological consequence related to the disease or its treatments”. Mostly people with a vulnerable profile, often women, people with lower incomes, those who have experienced a complex care pathway…

    Less than one in three people in APA

    It is precisely these people who are most in need of supportive and accompanying care. Adapted physical activity is particularly recommended in this case since it includes sports activities accessible to a person with a disability or chronic illness.

    However, according to the findings of the study, in France “only 26% of people suffering from chronic fatigue are directed towards adapted physical activity“.

    Supportive care: a lack of information and orientation

    The majority (61%) are referred to a physiotherapist, when for “24% of people, despite their sequelae, have not been referred to any supportive care since the start of their journey”. According to Lucie Vialard-Arbarotti, this figure is not surprising.

    “It is precisely this observation, coming from the departmental committees, that prompted us to work on this aspect: there is a lack of information for patients on supportive care, which is care in its own right that makes it possible to fight against recurrences of the disease; this is why the League pleads for making the end-of-treatment consultation systematic, so that patients are informed of supportive care and turn to us if necessary” details the project manager.

    Significant financial or geographic disparities

    The League also points out “the lack of supply in certain territories, the lack of staff, or even financial problems can also hinder adequate management of the consequences of cancer”.

    In effect, “19% of participants who did not consult all the recommended professionals gave up for financial reasons or geographical accessibility”. For Lucie Vialard-Arbarotti, “the financing of health professionals and adequate structures will be necessary at some point, the public authorities will no longer be able to back down”.

    A lack of communication

    More worrying: according to the responses collected by the League, “53% of respondents perceived a lack of coordination between the various professionals who accompany them”. According to Lucie Vialard-Arbarotti, this reflects the glaring lack of coordinating nurses. “There is a real need to finance this type of post in a sustainable way. Once again, we are faced with geographical disparities: in the places where they exist, they can effectively guide patients, it is a virtuous circle. Where it is not, patients must seek information alone”.

    Consult an oncologist online

    The Covid crisis has made the situation worse

    Last point: the health crisis. The study reports a lower degree of satisfaction from patients living in the departments most affected by the disease. “This can be explained by the fact that the caregivers were very busy with the Covid, but from the second wave, the cancer centers caught up and the patients were able to resume their treatments. finally indicates the project manager, who nevertheless wishes to conclude on a positive note by recalling that “the vast majority of patients are generally satisfied with the management of their disease”.