A new position statement from the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) reports that medical oncologists have a vital role to play in cancer care.1 According to the position statement, medical oncologists are specialist cancer physicians trained to provide treatment with drugs, spanning from chemotherapy to newer targeted agents and immunotherapies.
ESMO’s aim with the statement is to guarantee to Europe’s growing number of cancer patients access to optimal treatment, said Razvan A. Popescu, MD, ESMO National Representatives and Membership Committee Chair. “There are many complex decisions to be made around cancer treatment, and recent scientific advances are making the provision of optimal care even more challenging,” said Dr. Popescu. “Only medical oncology training prepares physicians to deal with this complexity.”
The new ESMO position paper outlines formally for the first time the role of medical oncologists. Developed in consultation with medical oncologists and professional organizations across Europe, endorsed by all medical oncology societies in Europe, it represents a consensus view of the medical oncologist’s place in the treatment of cancer.
The ESMO statement establishes, among others, what the internationally recognized standard of education and training should be for a medical oncologist. “By bringing attention to the role of medical oncology, ESMO hopes to improve the treatment of patients across Europe,” said ESMO President Martine Piccart, MD. ■
1. Popescu RA, Schafer R, Califano R, et al: The current and future role of the medical oncologist in the professional care for cancer patients: A position paper by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). Ann Intern Med 25:9-15, 2014.