The great strides that have been made in cancer care and the technologies that surround cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment are important and well recognized. They have contributed to the radical improvements in cancer survivorship seen in recent decades across much of the world. It is, however, equally important to emphasize the advances that have been made in approaches to ensure that a person who is undergoing diagnostic investigations or cancer treatments, or who is a survivor of cancer, is kept at the centre of all activities. We have improved our knowledge of how to involve patients at all stages and ensure they achieve the best experience, well-being and quality of life. This book describes the progress we have made and the efforts that must continue to strengthen this patient-centred approach. In our attempts to do justice to this very broad subject, we have involved multi-professional teams as authors of both the perspective chapters and the case reports. The teams who have developed and edited this book, and who have written the individual contributions, include not only oncologists and patients but also psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and allied health professionals, as well as a wide-ranging mixture of senior and junior people from the many professions.
To achieve the best patient-centred care, it is important to integrate the efforts of many disciplines, professions and institutions. Cancer care becomes increasingly complex and reaches across primary, secondary, tertiary and social care, requiring the interactions of many healthcare institutions in every sector. The importance of integrating specialized multidisciplinary cancer care through cancer networks and other arrangements has been recognized for more than two decades, but opportunities to improve integration and to ensure that it supports patient-centred care continue to grow. Perhaps most notably, modern health informatics provides us with excellent opportunities to integrate the care of cancer patients between disciplines, professions and institutions with the minimum of disruption to patients' lives. Increasingly, it will be possible to move information rather than patients around the healthcare system, allowing care to be delivered in an integrated way close to patients' homes for much of the time. Of course, important periods of time will continue to be needed in specialist facilities for the delivery of appropriate aspects of patient care.
This book is part of a prize-winning annual series of books on key topics in cancer care that are important to patients and professionals alike and that are growing, developing and shaping future approaches.
Galina Velikova, Lesley Fallowfield, Jane Younger, Ruth Board and Peter Selby, Editors
Johnathan Joffe, Chairman, Association of Cancer Physicians
Jane Maher, Joint Chief Medical Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support