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Ann Oncol. 2014 Feb;25(2):525-8. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt559. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

The landscape of medical oncology in Europe by 2020.

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Medical Oncology Clinic and BrEAST Data Center, Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels.



In the United States, there will be a shortage of medical oncologists (MO) by 2020. However, this information is not available for Europe. The aim of this study was to assess the current number of MO in the 27 European Union (27-EU) countries and to predict their availability by 2020.


Between June 2012 and January 2013, a survey was submitted to health authorities, medical oncology societies, and personal contacts in all 27-EU countries in order to gather annual data on the number of practicing MO. Data were collected by e-mail, telephone contact, or through research on official websites. Data regarding cancer incidence in 2008 and projections for 2015 and 2020 were obtained through Globocan. The mean annual increase in the number of MO was calculated for each country. The total number of MO by 2015 and 2020 was estimated, and the ratio of new cancer cases versus number of MO was calculated for 2008, 2015, and 2020.


Twelve countries provided sufficient data. The average mean annual increase in the total number of MO was 5.3% (range 1.8%-8.7%), with Belgium being the lowest and UK the highest. The 2008 ratio of cancer cases versus MO was lowest in Hungary (113) and highest in UK (1067). A favorable decrease in this ratio was estimated in most countries.


Our estimates, based on incidence and not on prevalence, indicate that MO availability will probably meet the projected need in most of the 12 countries analyzed, provided that: (i) these countries maintain their rate of annual increase in MO; and (ii) no unforeseen changes occur in cancer incidence. Unfortunately, minimal information is available for Eastern Europe. Our data call for the prospective surveillance of the cancer burden and MO availability to ensure adequate and equal care for cancer patients throughout Europe.


Europe; medical oncology; oncology prediction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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