The number of patients diagnosed with cancer in Spain during 2021 was higher than in 2020. It is estimated that 285,530 cases were diagnosed, according to REDECAN data, and that there were 109,589 deaths. This represents a mortality rate of 231 cancer deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, making it the second leading cause of death in Spain.
Cancer involves a high economic cost, which leads to great social inequalities that mainly affect unemployed, self-employed or low-income and minimum-wage patients. It is estimated that cancer causes an expenditure of more than €10,000 for 41% of families suffering from cancer between direct and indirect costs, with almost 30,000 patients in vulnerable employment situations who are unable to assume them.
These data reflect part of the situation faced by these patients and the challenge it poses to healthcare systems that are facing unprecedented changes in the history of mankind in developed countries.
The healthcare community must find ways to adapt in order to provide a correct and efficient approach to the care of cancer patients. Healthcare professionals need to continuously update their knowledge and manage it effectively to efficiently fulfil their role. Healthcare professionals, and especially those responsible for healthcare management and planning, must face and reflect upon future policies the new challenges, developing strategies that are more adapted to patients’ realities and needs.
The current healthcare panorama is characterised by the changeability of clinical practice, the multidisciplinary nature of interventions, the complexity of providing care, the incorporation of new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies and the associated costs, among other aspects. This also calls for a more results-oriented approach and the transparency of results.
What’s more, this situation is expected to evolve rapidly due to changes in patient profiles, as they start to take on a more active, participatory and responsible role in the management of their own health.
Given the current environment, it is imperative that professionals acquire new management tools and skills that facilitate their daily work.