18 March 2024

OECD Report and WBCPC Global Survey reveal key challenges and opportunities in bladder cancer care

The recently published OECD report, titled “Beating Cancer Inequalities in the EU – spotlight on cancer prevention and early detection” marks a significant step towards addressing the disparities in cancer care and outcomes. This report emphasises the critical need for comprehensive prevention and early cancer detection strategies, highlighting the importance of public education, lifestyle modifications, and equitable access to healthcare services.

Our own WBCPC Global Bladder Cancer Patient & Carer Survey findings showed the specific challenges faced by individuals affected by bladder cancer. The survey revealed a startling lack of awareness among patients with over half of the respondents (54%) unaware of the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer prior to their diagnosis. Despite blood in the urine being the most common sign of bladder cancer, 64% of respondents were not aware that finding blood in their urine was a warning sign.

The survey reveals significant delays in the diagnostic journey of patients, emphasising that the issue extends beyond the initial hesitancy to seek medical attention. While 43% of patients seek help immediately after symptom onset, systemic challenges within the healthcare system contribute to diagnostic delays. These include overburdened facilities and long waits for appointments, overshadowing the 32% who delay consulting a provider due to symptom misinterpretation or severity underestimation. This dual facet of delays – patient and systemic -highlights the critical need for enhanced public education and streamlined healthcare processes to improve timely diagnosis and patient care.

These findings support the OECD report’s call for improved early detection and prevention measures. The data underscores the necessity of targeted awareness campaigns that specifically address the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer, aiming to reduce the time to diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, the Global Bladder Cancer Patient Survey insights into patient experiences and satisfaction levels with the information provided at diagnosis, and throughout their care, can inform the development of more patient-centered care models, aligning with the OECD’s emphasis on patient engagement and personalised healthcare.

The OECD report’s policy-driven approach and the patient-centered insights from the Global Bladder Cancer Patient Survey both present an opportunity for healthcare policymakers, providers, and patient advocacy groups to collaborate more effectively not only in Europe, but also globally. By integrating the high-level policy recommendations of the OECD with the ground-level experiences and needs of bladder cancer patients, stakeholders can develop more nuanced and effective strategies to combat cancer inequalities.

We invite you to explore the OECD report and WBCPC Global Bladder Cancer Patient Survey report. These two provide call to actions aimed at improving cancer prevention, early detection, and patient-centered care. By addressing the gaps in awareness, education, and access to healthcare services, we can move closer to reducing the burden of cancer and achieving more equitable health outcomes for all individuals affected by this disease.

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