Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing interviews with members of the PanCareFollowUp consortium. Next up is Dr. Helena van der Pal from the Princess Maximá Center in the Netherlands and the PanCare network, who has led the development of the PanCareFollowUp Care intervention.
Please introduce yourself and share with us why you joined PanCareFollowUp.
My name is Helena van der Pal. I am the Chair of the Board of the PanCare network since May 2017. I am one of the founding members of the PanCare Society and a Board Member since 2011. I am a medical oncologist and have led the Outpatient Clinic for adult survivors of childhood cancer in the Emma Children’s Hospital/Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, since 1997, including delivering care for 2,400 childhood cancer survivors.
Since 2016, I am a senior staff member of the LATER Expertise Center for adult survivors of childhood cancer in the Princess Maxima Center for paediatric Oncology in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
I have a PhD in late effects after treatment for childhood cancer and have participated in the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group Late Effects Taskforce from its inception.
For me, PanCareFollowUp represents the best way to achieve the ultimate goal of excellent survivorship care in Europe.
Explain PanCareFollowUp shortly.
The project is divided into work packages (WP). WP1 is about developing the PanCareFollowUp Care intervention. What we did in WP1 was use all existing guidlelines and finalise all guidelines in a pragmatic way. We harmonised a Treatment Summary based on the Surivorship Passport. We developed the Survivorship Care Plan and the Survivorship Questionnaire.
Why do you think PanCareFollowUp is an important project?
I work in the Netherlands, where we have excelent survivorship care, but not all countries in Europe have these clinics. I feel strongly, that this is a good way to spread a better long term survivorship care in Europe. This is, why I think, that PanCareFollowUp is an important project.
I am very committed to improve care and quality of life of survivors in Europe.
What makes this project unique for you?
It‘s bringing professionals, researchers and survivors together, to improve survivorship care in Europe. So we can reach the ultimate goal of PanCare and that‘s to ensure equal access of care and quality of life for survivors of childhood cancer.
What do you hope this project will achieve?
I hope it will achieve a blueprint for long term survivorship care everywhere.
What’s the biggest challenge in this project?
In WP1, finalising the guidelines, this was one of the biggest challenges, but we made it, thanks to Rebecca, Renée and a lot of others!
What’s the most fun thing in this project?
The most fun is working together and what I really liked was the last online meeting that we had to organize due to the COVID-19 situation in Europe. It was really good that we worked even better online than in personal meeting. I liked that really much, as more people could join also.
Especially for WP1, it was the Guidelines Workshop, because it was very succsessful.
What’s the most important benefit of this project for survivors?
From WP1, the blueprint for survivorship care, including the recommondations and the Surivorship Care Plan.
What else do we need to know about your WP or is there anything else you want to share?
Please join PanCare, if you think that survivorship care is important!!