In Italy, educational programs for cancer patients are currently provided by the national government, scientific societies, and patient advocate organizations. Several gaps limit their effectiveness, including the lack of coordinated efforts, poor involvement of patient feedback in the planning of programs, as well as a lack of resources on innovative cancer-related topics. This process is parallel to a strong shift in the attitude of patients towards health in general and taking charge of their own health conditions in particular. The National Cancer Institute in the USA and the Organization of European Cancer Institutes encourage comprehensive cancer centers in providing educational programs conceived to overcome these gaps. The goal of this paper is to identify and describe the key elements necessary to develop a global patient education program and provide recommendations for strategies with practical examples for implementation in the daily activities of cancer institutes. A multidisciplinary committee was established for patient education, including patient representatives as equal partners, to define, implement, verify, and evaluate the fundamental steps for establishing a comprehensive education program. Six essential topics were identified for the program: appropriate communication of cancer epidemiology, clinical trial information, new therapeutic technologies, support in the use of medicines, psycho-oncological interventions, age-personalized approaches, and training programs for healthcare providers. Integration of these topics along with patient feedback is the key to a successful model for educational programs. An integrated educational program can transform a comprehensive cancer center to an institution that provides research and care for and with patients.
- Comprehensive cancer centers
- Ethical issues: cancer education
- Patient education
- Patient participation
- Patient-centered care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health