Is cancer care of good quality in Belgium?

Is cancer care of good quality in Belgium?

Cancer is still the ordeal of a lifetime for patients, but research is progressing.

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Increasingly, the announcements are fortunately positive. Cancer is becoming a chronic disease rather than an incurable disease. “In any case for breast cancer”, specifies Dr. Polastro, specialist in breast cancer and gynecological oncology at the Bordet Institute. Cure or stabilization rates vary greatly from case to case. Nearly 9 in 10 breast cancer patients are alive five years after diagnosis.

For other forms of the disease, the figures are much less encouraging. Some remain practically incurable, such as brain cancer. 60 to 70% of patients, specifies Professor Awada, director of the oncological medicine service, the service which deals with solid tumors, are cured thanks to a curative remedy provided by surgery, radiotherapy or medical treatment. For the others, care aims to improve survival and quality of life, to make it more comfortable. “Research progress is exceptional. We can speak of a revolution. Treatments are increasingly targeted, and therefore more effective.Dr. Polastro also rejoices: “Research is constantly evolving and new treatments arrive every year. The progress is such that it becomes difficult to keep up to date on all the advances. This is why oncologists are increasingly over-specialized in a specific field.

Read also: Is cancer research at a historic turning point?

Belgium is also the second European country to host the most clinical trials per inhabitant, behind Denmark. Therefore, doctors in our country use the most advanced treatments.

Obviously, all is not rosy either. The underfunding of hospitals, the lack of staff and the risk of burnout partly degrade the quality of care.

Find our full article Caregivers against cancer in our magazine of the week

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