European Cancer Organisation

NEWS: European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) launches their inaugural European Cancer Nursing Day

RECAN: Recognising European Cancer Nursing 18th May 2017: EONS have launched the 1st European Cancer Nursing Day (ECND) today. This will be an annual event on the same date and will focus on a different theme each year, based on the strategic priorities of EONS. The inaugural European Cancer Nursing Day focuses on the role of advocacy.

The aim of the European Cancer Nursing Day is to celebrate cancer nursing across Europe and advocate for the recognition of the contribution of cancer nursing at a European level, as well as emphasising the importance of appropriate education and training. Our ultimate aim is for the value of specialised cancer nursing to be recognised and for the benefit to patient care to be more widely understood.

Based on available literature (ESNO 2015, CANO 2016), the following definition of a specialist cancer nurse is used:

"On an international level, specialist cancer nurses are expected to be educated to a degree level (or higher), have a formal training in cancer, and to care for cancer patients as a specialised population, and this across different cancer types and the entire cancer care continuum."

The growing impact of cancer places increasing pressure on the health systems across Europe and worldwide. In 2017, 3.7million people will be diagnosed with cancer in Europe* and this figure is set to rise with an ageing population. Cancer nurses have a pivotal role in all areas of cancer care, from prevention, to diagnosis, education, research, patient advocacy, survivorship and provision of end of life care. They do so against the challenges of an ageing population, an increase in patients with complex co-morbidities, new developments in treatment and care and a significant lack of resources.

Professor Daniel Kelly, President of EONS said: ‘I strongly believe that working together as cancer nurses, both in Europe and also with our colleagues worldwide, we really can make the changes that are needed to secure a nursing workforce prepared to meet future patient needs, improve cancer nursing as a career and profession and positively influence cancer patients’ treatments, lives and future. European Cancer Nursing Day is a celebration of this ambition.’

European Cancer Nursing Day is part of the Recognising European Cancer Nursing (RECaN) project led by the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) and supported by the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), a Federation of 25 Professional Societies in Oncology. The project is being delivered over three years with the goal of increasing recognition of the value and contribution of oncology nursing across Europe. Their contribution takes place across a variety of roles including expert cancer nursing skills, research, education, clinical leadership, strategy and management roles, advocacy, and policy development.

Through the RECaN project, ECCO* intends to support the following characteristics of contemporary cancer nursing to be better recognised:
  • Cancer nurses are core members of the multi-disciplinary team
  • Cancer nursing should be a recognised speciality across Europe based on a mutually agreed educational curriculum
  • Education for specialist cancer nurses (across all tumour types and phases of care) should be made available
  • Enhanced free movement of cancer nurses across Europe should be promoted and facilitated to help address rising demand.
(From ECCO* Position Statement)

All EONS National member organisations are invited to join us to celebrate the contribution made by European Cancer Nurses. Each member organisation has been provided with a toolkit to enable them to participate in the celebration. We are also encouraging member organisations to contact relevant stakeholders in their country to bring this celebration to their attention.

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Contact: EONS Communications Manager Helen Oswald at

Note to Editor: The European Oncology Nursing Society is a pan-European organisation dedicated to the support and development of cancer nurses. Through our individual members and national societies we engage in projects to help nurses develop their skills, network with each other and raise the profile of cancer nursing across Europe. EONS is an independent, not-for-profit, voluntary organisation registered as a charity (UK number 802484). EONS is a member of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), the only multidisciplinary organisation that connects and responds to all stakeholders in oncology Europe–wide.

*World Health Organisation (WHO):

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