Strengthening Oncopolicy through Partnerships:
Unlocking Europe’s Health and Research Potential
To give you a flavour of what was discussed and the take-home messages that were formulated at this year’s ECCO Oncopolicy Forum, we invite you to view the interviews below by eminent journalist Peter Goodwin with many of the key figures attending the ECCO Oncopolicy Forum.
EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn points out that cancer is a clear priority of the European Commission and DG Research has a long-standing commitment to cancer research; she indicates that there will be substantial investment in cancer in the coming years for cancer, in particular for investigator-driven clinical research.
The Innovation Union, one of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, will launch a Pilot European Innovation Partnership on Healthy and Active Ageing in 2011, seeking ways to identify how Europe could scale up innovation to meet the challenges of the ageing population. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn warmly invites the ECCO Oncopolicy Forum participants to actively contribute and bring their necessary expertise to this initiative.
Andrej Rys (Director, Directorate C – Public Health and Risk Assessment Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, European Commission)
The Director for Public Health and Risk Assessment in the European Commission’s DG Sanco, Andrej Rys, outlines the importance of all stakeholders from the cancer community working together in a co-ordinated fashion to share expert knowledge in an effort to achieve goals that can truly help the cancer patient.He also pinpoints the key areas of that need attention in cancer policy, as identified by the assembled experts at the ECCO Oncopolicy Forum.
Dr. Rys in addition provides an update on the Cross-Border Healthcare negotiations currently ongoing and praises European cancer patients for putting this issue on the EU political map.
Alojz Peterle (Member of the European Parliament (MEP))
Alojz Peterle underlines the importance of coordinated efforts to fight the burden of cancer. A cancer survivor himself, Mr. Peterle is particularly passionate about placing greater emphasis at both EU and national level on preventative measures and in a more comprehensive manner, reviewing not only cooperation amongst those in the health sector but also other domains such as research, education and media.
Related to this, Mr. Peterle calls for a ‘paradigm change’ in cancer policy and asks ECCO Oncopolicy Forum participants to re-consider basic concepts such as the notion of ‘wellbeing’.
(European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Member)
With one third of cancers preventable, Ingrid Kössler discusses the need for improved information flow to European citizens about cancer prevention, from reinforcing the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, particularly at a young age, to informing citizens about the benefits of availing of cancer screening opportunities.
Ms. Kössler also reflects on the situation in her native Sweden, whereby cancer registries are wholeheartedly embraced.
Andreas W.H. Ullrich (Medical Officer Cancer Control, World Health Organisation (WHO))
Andreas Ullrich explains the outcome and consequent actions from the World Health Assembly’s Resolution on Cancer Control in 2005. In particular, he notes that by consolidating the experience from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the World Health Organisation has been coordinating a global strategy on tobacco control and European countries should embrace wholeheartedly the plans to tackle tobacco, tailored to the national context. He deems the ECCO Oncopolicy Forum to be a key facilitator in helping to leverage national governments to further develop their policies on tobacco control.
He also outlines the template for evidence-based national cancer plans, highlighting that it is not just the obvious areas that should be integrated in a national cancer plan but policymakers need to take a holistic approach, including considering the incorporation of other policy areas including food marketing, transport policy, urban planning and taxation.
Marija Seljak (Director, National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia)
In her capacity as Director of the National Institute of Public Health in Slovenia, Marija Seljak speaks about the path Slovenia has taken in prioritising cancer policy at EU level, culminating in its role as Coordinator of the European Commission Joint Action, the European Partnership for Action against Cancer.
Ms. Seljak reflects on the important opportunity the European Partnership for Action against Cancer presents for Member States to share experiences and determine the most appropriate directions and actions to achieve better results and outcomes. In particular, emphasising cancer to be a chronic disease, Ms. Seljak considers the sharing of good practices and knowledge on the quality-of-care and palliative care to be key areas where participants can integrate efforts and gain results.
Alexander M.M. Eggermont (President, European Academy of Cancer Sciences; General Director, Institut Gustave Roussy) and Anton Berns (Fellow, European Academy of Cancer Sciences; Director of Research and Group Leader, Molecular Genetics, Netherlands Cancer Institute)
European Academy of Cancer Sciences President Alexander M.M. Eggermont and Academy Fellow Anton Berns explain the motivation for creating this body of scientific excellence. The current overwhelming amount of data available in oncology combined with the increasingly complex developments in cancer research can be challenging for decision-makers. Connecting the key figures in the European oncology arena through the European Academy of Cancer Sciences can help to fill in the knowledge gaps and provide evidence-based advice and direction for policymakers.
Gilles Vassal (Head of Clinical and Translational Research, Institut Gustave Roussy; SIOP Europe Board Member)
Gilles Vassal talks about the challenges currently facing the paediatric oncology community in Europe and outlines how SIOP Europe, the European Society for Paediatric Oncology, aims to address these issues. He also notes the creation of a European Network for Cancer research in Children and Adolescents (ENCCA), an EU-funded project that will seek to identify strategies to address this fragmented area of oncology. Although there have been significant improvements in the survival rates of children and adolescents with cancer, Vassal says there is still a long way to go to ensure innovative therapies for children and adolescents, but working closely together and developing partnerships with all stakeholders is the best direction in order to achieve results.
Robert L T Hudson (President, the European Cancer Patients Coalition (ECPC))
For Tom Hudson, the President of the European Cancer Patient Coalition, evidence-based, clear and comprehensive information is a priority in his work for European cancer patients. Lack of information particularly concerns cancer patients based in central and Eastern Europe and ECPC are actively seeking to address this with its members.
Tom also discusses the recently created Forum Against Cancer Europe (FACE) as well as ECPC’s keen interest in working closely with other European patient groups to ensure the voice of the cancer patient is heard.
Michael Baumann (President, ECCO- European CanCer Organisation; Director, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, University of Technology (TUD)) and Julio E. Celis (Chair of ECCO- European CanCer Organisation’s Policy Committee; Scientific Director, Institute of Cancer Biology, Danish Cancer Society)
ECCO President Michael Baumann and ECCO Policy Committee Chair Julio Celis explain the centrality of multidisciplinarity in cancer treatment and outline ECCO’s incentive for creating the annual ECCO Oncopolicy Forum.
A major societal challenge, Baumann and Celis point out that cancer cannot be fought alone. The ECCO Oncopolicy Forum aims to promote the importance of partnerships, representing the ideal forum to bring the many oncology stakeholders together to discuss the current fragmentation and gaps in an effort to support decision-makers in meeting the wider challenges with scientifically-sound direction and advice. The annual ECCO Oncopolicy Forum allows not only for dialogue and debate but also provides the necessary continuity required to ensure that the issues discussed are brought forward and concrete solutions are sought.
PRINT THIS PAGE
Page last modified: