Implementing the European code of cancer practice in rural settings

David Nelson*, Peter Selby, Ros Kane, Ava Harding-Bell, Amanda Kenny, Kathie McPeake, Samuel Cooke, Todd Hogue, Kathy Oliver, Mark Gussy, Mark Lawler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Existing evidence often indicates higher cancer incidence and mortality rates, later diagnosis, lower screening uptake and poorer long-term survival for people living in rural compared to more urbanised areas. Despite wide inequities and variation in cancer care and outcomes across Europe, much of the scientific literature explicitly exploring the impact of rurality on cancer continues to come from Australia and North America. The European Code of Cancer Practice or "The Code" is a citizen and patient-centred statement of the most salient requirements for good clinical cancer practice and has been extensively co-produced by cancer patients, cancer professionals and patient advocates. It contains 10 key overarching Rights that a cancer patient should expect from their healthcare system, regardless of where they live and has been strongly endorsed by professional and patient cancer organisations as well as the European Commission. In this article, we use these 10 fundamental Rights as a framework to argue that (i) the issues and needs identified in The Code are generally more profound for rural people with cancer; (ii) addressing these issues is also more challenging in rural contexts; (iii) interventions and support must explicitly account for the unique needs of rural residents living with and affected by cancer and (iv) new innovative approaches are urgently required to successfully overcome the challenges faced by rural people with cancer and their caregivers. Despite equitable healthcare being a key European policy focus, the needs of rural people living with cancer have largely been neglected. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number100465
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cancer Policy
Volume39
Early online date06 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • European Code of Cancer Practice
  • Cancer
  • Medically underserved area
  • Rural health
  • Health inequalities
  • Patient and citizen rights

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