European Cancer Organisation

December President page


Tenth letter to our Community / 09 December

December President’s Page

Throughout my tenure as President of ECCO, I have been working towards advancing the multidisciplinary and multi-professional approach to oncology, proven to be of significant benefit for research, treatment and cancer care.

To address this ambition in a practical way, I divided it into three major objectives: providing continuity in enhancing the scientific excellence of the ECCO-ESMO-ESTRO congress; enhancing strategic policy positioning; and consolidation and enhancement of the ECCO community.

Our own ‘personalised’ approach

Multidisciplinarity is increasingly carried out in daily clinical practice, a very important advantage for cancer patients. As the best example of a truly multidisciplinary congress yet, the Stockholm congress, held in September, enabled oncology professionals, patient advocates and those interested in shaping policy alike to see the tangible benefits of all cancer disciplines working together, with active patient involvement at the heart of discussions.

ECCO Founding and Society Members represent the pillars of advanced cancer research, treatment and care in Europe. Their work and efforts enable progress in each individual field of diagnosis and treatment. Combined with ECCO’s drive to advance the multidisciplinary and multi-professional approach to oncology, the effect, without doubt, enhances the scientific excellence of the ECCO-ESMO-ESTRO congress.

Today, the congress programme not only includes the best science, it also underpins the relevance, role and participation of each and every specialty in oncology. It also goes far beyond the Congress itself through our united ambition to achieve the best cancer treatment and care for patients, together. This is the future of oncology, and I am extremely proud of the role played by ECCO and all our member societies in making this happen.

Recognised as key stakeholder for the future of oncology

The oncocommunity has a common and unifying quality - it comprises professionals and people who not only want to be the best, they also want to do their best for cancer patients. This drive has helped me make good progress towards my second objective, enhancing strategic policy positioning.

As a yearly occurrence, ECCO’s Oncopolicy Forum brings policymakers straight to the heart of discussions about our community’s valid concerns. As a featured track of the ECCO-ESMO-ESTRO congress, the Oncopolicy Forum enhances the impact of the programme on and for the wider oncocommunity. Its inclusion encourages a widening of the scope of discussions, acting as a very tangible expression of our desire to involve all cancer stakeholders in directly addressing issues of prime importance to us all. As a one-day high-level policy summit in Brussels in non-ECCO years, the Oncopolicy Forum facilitates our continuous interaction with EU and national decision makers, as well as promoting and fostering continued improvement at EU Level.

ECCO strives to continually build foundations for a single voice in oncology through our work with the ECCO Policy Committee, the Patient Advisory Committee and the European Academy of Cancer Sciences. ECCO has also joined forces with 16 European biomedical research societies, representing approximately 200,000 researchers to call for establishment of a ‘European Council for Health Research’. This occurred at the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe General Assembly in Brussels on 1 December, 2011.

The BioMed Alliance comprises ECCO, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The Alliance recognises that health research is, in many aspects, fragmented in Europe, and that the continuity and longevity needed for translational and clinical research is often not available. The scientific community often uses the same technological and infrastructural resources and faces the same challenges throughout. A joint strategy, in the form of a ‘European Council for Health Research’ could ensure expert scientific input on policy from the outset, advance innovation and competitiveness, simplify funding procedures, encourage participation from more researchers across borders and ensure savings for national health systems. Solutions on how to promote innovative research and save costs are urgently needed considering burgeoning healthcare budgets in all Member States and our increasingly ageing population.

It is through all of the above means that ECCO proactively engages with policymakers and all relevant stakeholders in driving oncopolicy in Europe. We provide the unifying voice on behalf of all European societies representing professionals in oncology, providing a platform to achieve the best outcomes possible. And we are having a considerable effect in proactively leading EU policy debate through progressive thinking about oncopolicy. Our desire to do the best we can for cancer patients should see this progress strengthen and continue well into the future.

Aiming high together

My third objective was to consolidate and enhance the ECCO community. I am proud of the fact that this objective has been fed and advanced by the achievements made in the previous two areas. ECCO has consistently promoted multidisciplinarity to the oncocommunity through our flagship congress and persistently engaged in policy activities in collaboration with member societies. I have also personally held exiting discussions with our member societies. ECCO continuously demonstrates serious consideration for member societies concerns, striving to facilitate interaction with and between all our members.

This is my final newsletter to you as President of ECCO. I am pleased with the progress that has been made during my Presidency. I would particularly like to thank the staff of ECCO for their hard work and tireless unrelenting dedication in helping me achieve such concrete progress during my time leading the ECCO team.

In January, I will hand over the Presidency to our President-Elect, Cornelius van de Velde, in the secure knowledge that he will approach this important role with the enthusiasm and dedication necessary to ensure continuity and sustained drive for achieving ECCO’s mission. A strong momentum has been set over the last years, resulting in many tangible outcomes. I know that Cornelius will lead ECCO unremittingly, determined to bring all efforts - those of both the ECCO staff and the wider oncocommunity - to the next level.

Finally, I wish to thank everyone for your support and camaraderie in my role as President of ECCO. I wish you an enjoyable holiday season and a fruitful start to the New Year. Most of all, I wish you continued success in furthering the role of multidisciplinary oncology - in being and doing the best we can for our cancer patients.

Michael Baumann

ECCO President

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