Austria pioneers treatment of pediatric cancer 06.06.2014

Press conference at St. Anna Children´s Hospital on 3. June 2014

In 2013 The Lancet Oncology (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2813%2970548-5/fulltext#article_upsell) published the results of a European study (EUROCARE-5) according to which children in Europe who are diagnosed with cancer have a 5-year-survival rate of 81%. Austria was identified at the top of treatment success with a 5-year-survival rate of more than 87%.

Austria´s leading role in the successful treatment of pediatric cancer was discussed by experts in the field and the Austrian minister of health, Alois Stoeger, at a press conference that took place on 3. June 2014 in the St. Anna Children´s Hospital in Vienna. Clinicians, researchers and psychologists agreed that this outstanding survival rate is due to scientific as well as medical advances and the high level of psychosocial support that is offered to patients and their families in Austria. On this occasion, Prof. Arnold Pollak introduced a book authored by St. Anna´s psychosocial team leader Reinhard Topf about the history of pediatric psychosocial care of sick children in Austria. However, even in Austria, the experts agreed, there is still room for improvement especially with regard to the continuous aftercare program for childhood cancer survivors. In order to create the best possible framework and environment for these children and young adults, the “national cancer program”, which is being developed by the Austrian Ministry of Health in co-operation with the Austrian Oncology Committee, includes in-patient rehabilitation (also involving patients´ families) and implementation of a "survivorship passport". These measures are supposed to facilitate the physical, psychological, social and educational integration of young cancer survivors after their successful struggle with illness and their return to everyday life.