Surviving cancer is an increasingly common occurrence. Yet the long-term consequences of the disease and its treatment have not been investigated and managed to adequate extent. With its Interval medical-scientific programme dedicated to post-cancer care, Gustave Roussy aims to prevent treatment-related sequelae and to give each patient in remission the hope of continuing quality of life.
In 2021, 3.8 million people were living with cancer in France. Once cured, survivors face difficulties in their daily lives: changes in body image, pain, fatigue, chronic motor function disorders, urinary and gastric disorders, psychological and professional consequences, etc. For 63.5% of them, serious sequelae have a permanent, adverse impact on their quality of life. And by 2040, 26 million people across the globe could well be facing this dilemma.
This explains why Gustave Roussy is developping a large-scale post-cancer care programme as part of its 2020-2030 institutional strategic project. The aim is to offer each patient better quality recovery.
A priority medical and scientific programme
This programme includes a scientific element to speed up research into the onset of toxicity and a clinical element to propose personalised care pathways to prevent and treat sequelae.
Led by Dr Florian Scotté, Director of the Interdisciplinary Department for the Organisation of Patient Pathways (DIOPP), and Dr Inès Vaz-Luis, a medical research scientist and head of the Inserm Unit 981 post-cancer research team, the programme will be developed for adults and children and will draw on all of the Institute's expertise (doctors, research scientists, paramedical staff, etc.).
To better identify and prevent individual toxicity risks
Few studies have focused on the prevention, detection and management of cancer sequelae to date, the main emphasis being on the observation of side effects.
The scientific focus of the Interval programme is to identify toxicity biomarkers to assess the likelihood of each patient developing complications from the moment of diagnosis onwards. This will improve patient monitoring and prompt preventive consultations. These new approaches can be used to measure the physical, psychological and social impact on the health system structure.
The clinical focus will successively incorporate the findings of the scientific focus and will set up personalised follow-up with several components.
With the help of digital technology
The teams have forged links with Resilience to create a digital patient and doctor companion to help improve the experience of illness.
My Care – a care structure dedicated to post-cancer care
The My Care centre will be dedicated to the management of sequelae and will offer specific support programmes including a day hospital to care for the most vulnerable individuals.
Based at Gustave Roussy 2 (Chevilly-Larue), My Care will welcome 2,000 patients (adults and children) per year in the initial phase. Patients will benefit from care and support activities: dietary advice, functional rehabilitation, psychological support, acupuncture and appropriate physical exercise, etc. The involvement of specialist organ oncologists will increase expertise and the implementation of programmes and pathways to avoid and treat functional sequelae.
Developing community-hospital collaboration
The development and strengthening of close links with general practitioners and specific rehabilitation centres (cardiology, neurology) will generate as much information as possible on cured patients and provide a better response to post-cancer problems.
Personalised follow-up after breast cancer
The period between the end of initial breast cancer treatments (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy) and the start of follow-up is a specific period.
Patients move from an active treatment phase with frequent hospital visits to a follow-up phase with longer intervals between visits. Numerous questions may arise during this post-cancer phase.
Thanks to the INTERVAL programme, GUSTAVE ROUSSY can support patients during this transition phase.
THIS NEW CARE PATHWAY FOR BREAST CANCER FOLLOW-UP consists of several components:
- A follow-up diary is issued to patients at the end of the initial treatment consultation. This written document contains information on the diagnosis, treatments received, ongoing treatments, adverse events, monitoring and lifestyle recommendations to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of relapse.
- An invitation to participate in the Transition Day.
- Access to the Resilience mobile app, to track symptoms, understand why they occur and how to alleviate them.
- The creation of decision trees for doctors to help them manage and treat the main symptoms of breast cancer