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Treat rare cancers only in specialised hospitals, says centre

02:57 11/02/2014

Patients with a rare or very complex cancer should only be treated in hospitals with a special statute, said the Federal Knowledge Centre for Health Care in a report released yesterday.

At the moment, all 119 Belgian hospitals are allowed to treat all kinds of cancers. But pancreatic cancer, for example, is a very complex disease that requires an immediate and difficult surgery. In 2011, 91 Belgian hospitals carried out this surgery, with half of them only providing four or less that year.

Research shows, however, that it is essential for a hospital to have a lot of experience with pancreatic surgeries in order to ensure a reasonable success rate. The knowledge centre said that 20 similar surgeries per year should be the minimum. Most hospitals today don’t publish their figures and results, making it difficult for a patient to choose.

“The government should select recognised reference centres with the right experience, competences and infrastructure to treat the more rare and complex cancers,” said Roos Leroy of the knowledge centre.

Written by Andy Furniere