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Royal Decree on paediatric oncology in Belgium

On Friday 21 June, the amendment to the Royal Decree on paediatric oncology in Belgium from 2014 was published in the Belgian Official Gazette. 

It will group patients in a smaller number of reference centres and creates networks to organise parts of the treatment trajectory close to the patient's home. This measure follows international developments as well as the recommendation of the European Reference Network for paediatric oncology (ERN PaedCan), which says that reference centres should treat at least 100 new cases per year, instead of the current minimum of 50.

In Belgium, around 400 children develop cancer every year spread across more than 60 different types, which makes every childhood cancer a rare disease. Concentrating care is a logical way to ensure the high standard of care already established in Belgium and secure it for the future in the light of medical and scientific developments.

As a treatment journey is challenging for the child and the family, it is equally important to determine which aspects of treatment are best carried out in the proximity of the patient’s home.

Doctors and other caregivers now face the challenge of organising such networks between reference centres and shared proximity care with the aim to provide the best chance of survival for each child while ensuring quality of life and survival during treatment and beyond.

This news was written by BSPHO