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Improved supportive, palliative, survivorship and end-of-life care of cancer patients

The complexity of health conditions related to cancer and late or long-term side effects as consequences of its treatments affect the quality of life of cancer patients and their families and pose a significant societal and economic burden. Palliative[[https://www.who.int/cancer/palliative/definition/en/]], supportive[[https://www.mascc.org/about-mascc]], survivorship and end-of-life care approaches improve the quality of life for cancer patients and professional and family caregivers through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other problems such as physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems. Although a variety of interventions are in use, they are often insufficiently validated or adapted to the specific needs of cancer patients and cancer survivors, often affected by co- or multi-morbidities. Thus, there is a need to strengthen the evidence base for patient-centred, effective interventions improving the quality of life and outcomes of cancer patients and cancer survivors of all ages in the domains of supportive, palliative, survivorship and end-of-life care.

Proposals should address all of the following activities:

  • Demonstrate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of newly proposed or specifically adapted pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological interventions to improve well-being and the quality of life of cancer patients. Serious late and long-term side effects of cancer treatments or symptoms that occur at the end of life of those patients as well as of cancer survivors should be considered. The legal and ethical aspects of the proposed interventions should be taken into consideration and be fully addressed.
  • Prove the feasibility of integrating the proposed interventions in current pain management, palliative, supportive, survivorship and/or end-of-life care regimes and healthcare systems across Europe. The complex human, social, cultural and ethical aspects that are necessarily managed by those care regimes and healthcare systems should be reflected from the patients’ perspectives as well as those of their professional and family caregivers. The views and values of patients and their caregivers (including families, volunteers, nurses and others) should also be appropriately taken into account in patient-centred care decisions.
  • Identify and analyse relationships between sex, gender, age, disabilities and socio-economic factors in health and any other relevant factors (e.g. ethical, familial, cultural considerations, including personal beliefs and religious perspectives, etc.) that could affect health equity[[https://www.who.int/topics/health_equity/en/

    ]] of the proposed interventions, including equitable access.

  • Analyse the barriers and opportunities to re-invigorating and enhancing timely social inclusion and active engagement of cancer patients in need of supportive, palliative, survivorship and end-of-life care and their caregivers.
  • Provide guidelines for patient-centred communication as well as standards for evidence-based communication trainings for caregivers, considering the potential of social innovation approaches or tools.
  • When relevant, provide policy recommendations for pain management, psychological and/or spiritual support, and supportive, palliative, survivorship or end-of-life care of cancer patients afflicted by late and long-term side effects of cancer treatments.

Randomised clinical trials and observational studies, targeting children or adults or elderly, should be considered for this topic. Proposals should give a sound feasibility assessment, provide details of the methodology, including an appropriate patient selection and realistic recruitment plans, justified by available publications and/or preliminary results.

This topic requires effective contributions from the social sciences and humanities (SSH) through the involvement of SSH experts and institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities. Proposals should consider a patient-centred approach that empowers patients, promotes a culture of dialogue and openness between health professionals, patients and their families, and unleashes the potential for social innovation.

All projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. This could also involve networking and joint activities with projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe, or other EU programmes, as appropriate. Therefore, proposals are expected to include a budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and may consider to cover the costs of any other potential joint activities without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities at this stage. The details of these joint activities will be defined during the grant agreement preparation phase. In this regard, the Commission may take on the role of facilitator for networking and exchanges, including with relevant stakeholders, if appropriate.