EuropaColon is organising, attending and presenting many colorectal cancer congresses, patient conferences and political events throughout Europe. Please click on the following links to learn more about forthcoming events.
On 6th December EuropaColon was in the audience for the United European Gastroenterology meeting in Brussels on Digestive Health.
A high level meeting with an agenda that brought the outgoing Slovak Council Presidency and the incoming Maltese Presidency to the table. Sandwiched between these speeches were a number of informative and enlightening presentations.
It was clear from the presentations and discussion that the issue with health funding remains short term. Consequently public health is being reduced and health systems are scaled back where ever possible. Despite the financial constraints there are basic health needs that require funding. Cutting public health (often down to less than 1% of health budget) affects delivery and adds to costs later in the pipeline.
We need to work out a compromise between these two and reconcile differences so that early diagnosis can be appreciated by all citizens across Europe.
Greater collaboration between relevant Government departments could bring about better understanding of the needs and the benefits of funding, such as screening or educational programs to reduce obesity amongst children. By not dealing with these matters up front the later costs escalate and soon will be out of control. Awareness of the benefits of healthy eating have been proven and in the words of one speakers; "Diet can do as much to heal the gut and statins" and clearly a lot cheaper.
The most dynamic presentation was from Petra Thomas who since her diagnosis at 30 of anal cancer has started an awareness organisation Red Pants, in Germany to raise awareness amongst the younger generation of this disease.
The Health Minister for Malta closed the meeting with their plans for the 6 months Presidency staring in January. The two topics appear to be relatively innocent but the detail gives this away.
1. Cross Border Health Care cooperation - how can this be made to work more effectively, also looking at pricing and access to medicines and joint procurement.
2. Childhood Obesity - having measured all children in Malta there is a 40% obesity rate. The will look at the EU plan on obesity and assess what is working and what not. Alongside they will develop a toolkit for purchasing good quality food for school meals, this 25bn annual budget can surely be better utilised to bring health food to the school table.
The meeting was a full day but with plenty of time for discussion a number of helpful projects were developed during the breaks.
We are supporting Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month this November! Turn it purple and see how you can get involved.
Click here to find out more.
Because of grants from the organisers of the ESMO Congress, 8 of our Expert Patient Advisory Group (EPAG) were able to attend the recent European Society of Medical Oncology meeting in Copenhagen. Barbara, Mark, Dora, Wolfram, Jolien, Celeste and Anthony all received a grant as patient advocates.
They used the time well and attend a wide range of presentations both in the clinical track and also the patient track. These were all designed to information and empower patient advocates to understand the complex world of cancer treatment, care and most importantly access.
On the Monday we all joined up for a special meeting of the EPAG to develop our own agenda and discuss plans for a new supportive website that will help patients negotiate the often complex world following a diagnosis. The website still needs funding but the idea of this meeting was to start the discussion and make sure we were all on the same page.
Zorana Maravic, Director of Group and Project Development at EuropaColon, together with her colleague, Michael Sapiens from Colon Cancer Alliance, Dr John Marshall, and Dr Dirk Arnold, have participated in Medscape program titled Global Perspectives on Optimising the Clinician-Patient Interface.
Click here to watch it.
The second Joint Action on cancer, CANCON, an EU funded initiative, is coming to a close and was the host at a stakeholders meeting last week. The report and policy recommendations on the Joint Action will be published in January with a final conference in February. Over two days last week we were given an update from work package leaders on progress and the outcomes being drawn into the final report.
The areas this Joint Action covered were agreed in consultation with Member States, these were Screening; Survivorship and Rehabilitation; Integrated Cancer Control and Community Level Cancer Care.
EuropaColon was asked to make a presentation reviewing the work being done – all interesting activity and some very exciting. Perhaps the greatest impact for patients will be the recommendation that everyone at point of diagnosis should receive a Survivorship Care Plan. This will be updated regularly during the patient experience to provide support beyond the clinical experience.
In addition to the work packages, an important element will be work looking at the inequalities that exist between Member States. Currently there is an 8 year difference between the best and worse performing countries and this is seldom the consequence of the amount of money spent on cancer per capita in the country.
The second day was a meeting of the Italian Cancer League and it was interesting to see the passion and enthusiasm that local MPs and MEPs have for cancer care.
In all, the two days presented a good opportunity to exchange views and hear new thoughts on options for delivering improvements in cancer care across Europe.
The summer holidays are over and we hope that you have all been able to enjoy some lovely warm days wherever in the world you happen to be!!!!
Going back to work feels like the first day back at school and EuropaColon has a really busy schedule for the next 3 months!
It actually started at the end of August with a meeting in Brussels organized by ECCO OncoPolicy to discuss the final stages of a report on the Essential Requirements of CRC Treatment and Care, due for publication later this year. It carries on at a quickened pace during September when we will be attending the CanCon meeting in Rome 15/16th and also the ESSO meeting in Cracow on the same days, fortunately not the same person.
This will be the first meeting of the new ESSO Patient Advisory Board meeting and our CEO will report on this on her return. On the 21st Geoffrey Henning attends a quarterly meeting of the EFPIA ThinkTank meeting in Brussels. Whilst the end of the month brings an important CRC experts meeting organised by EuropaColon in association with the Joint Research Council (JRC).
We look forward to exchanging views and seeing how some of the gaps in CRC diagnosis, treatment and care can be addressed…. watch this space for news!!!
We’re off to Milan 2nd ESO masterclass on the 24th & 25th of June!
Then on the 29th we go to the world congress on gastrointestinal cancer WCGC where our CEO is co-chairing the the ESO observatory and our director of policy is speaking on patient reported outcomes.
We are off on our travels!!!
Milan - European School of Oncology Masterclass;
Barcelona - World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer
Vienna - Pancreatic Cancer Meeting – Partners in Progress
Oporto - 10thAnniversary celebration and National Patient Conference
Rome – EuropaColon Italy set up meeting.
We will keep you posted!
EuropaColon Portugal celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a patient conference on Digestive cancers on the 8/9 July.
Congratulations and well done to EuropaColon Portugal!!!
Our Founder and CEO looks forward to attending the meeting.
Prevention, Promotion and Screening was the title of a presentation during the European Week against Cancer, held in the EU Parliament, attended by EuropaColon. The event was organised by the European Cancer Leagues and UEG, Untied European Gastroenterology.
A range of very experienced speakers discussed a range of topics relating to the importance of early diagnosis and the absence of Formal Population Screening (FPS) for all citizens in most of the EU. Only 6 countries have implement and are currently making FPS available.
The emphasis was how to prevent the large numbers of people who present late with colorectal cancer being diagnosed early and benefitting from the 95% chance of a cure!
In many respects we are back in the days of HIV - don't die of ignorance... colorectal cancer is a cancer that has the best chance of being cured if diagnosed early... We all need to remember this message.