ETHA Signs a Joint Statement on Cancer Comorbidities

On 17 December 2019, the European Thrombosis and Haemostasis Alliance (ETHA) signed a joint statement as part of a new coalition on cancer comorbidities. Alongside ten signatories including the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), the joint statement calls upon the European Union to prioritise cancer-related complications in EU health policy, particularly given the renewed focus on cancer under the new Commission mandate.

The joint statement outlines several areas of prioritisation, including:

  • Cancer-related complications and comorbidities should form a central part of all policy discussions about cancer care. A horizontal approach to morbidity and mortality drivers is essential in effective cancer care.
  • Cancer-related complications and comorbidities should be tackled as an individual pillar in the EU Cancer Plan. This would give these conditions the policy attention they require to be addressed seriously.
  • EU funding programs should be leveraged for research on cancer to include cancer-related complications and comorbidities. Existing gaps in the funding infrastructure must be addressed in cancer care.

Dr. Anna Falanga, Chair of the ETHA, said: “Cancer-Associated Thrombosis is a significant cause of death in chemotherapy patients. The risk of developing thrombosis is four times greater for cancer patients than the general population, yet effective screening for thrombotic disorders is not commonplace in cancer care. We call upon the European Commission to recognise the impact of Cancer-Associated Thrombosis (CAT) on effective cancer treatment and survivorship, and request that the importance of CAT is reflected by including comorbidities as an individual pillar in the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.”

ETHA`s mission is to prepare EU Member States for the challenge of ageing populations by advancing the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of bleeding and clotting disorders. The sheer size of this issue requires cooperation between countries and national associations with a clear steering on the EU level. The ETHA therefore very much welcomes the Commission`s initiative to launch an action plan for beating cancer. Tackling cancer-associated thrombosis as part of a broader action plan on cancer, can also be expected to have a positive effects on outcomes for non-cancer-associated thrombosis by addressing patient safety interventions that may be effective in different contexts.