The Year 2020 has arrived. I start my Presidency of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) at the birth of both a new EU Cancer Mission, and an EU Beating Cancer Plan designed to coordinate EU countries towards shared goals. I hope both will not only be significant in themselves but set a longer-term trend for continuous high level inter-governmental cooperation on cancer.
I also start with a freshly minted four-year Strategy of ECCO, developed after ten months of consultation with our members. What came out strongly from that process is not only the need to bring together actors in cancer care to give one voice on certain key policy issues, but also the value in convening interested parties around complex topics where joint work can help overcome persistent obstacles to progress.
We now are launching eight ‘Focused Topic Networks’ of ECCO member organisations and our Patient Advisory Committee members, but crucially, also invited stakeholders, EU players and our ‘Community 365’ of funding partners. This expansion of the ECCO family to help problem solve on a bigger scale is very welcome. I pay particular tribute for that development to my predecessor as ECCO President, Professor Philip Poortmans. He was instrumental in seeing this need, and in gaining full member support for the arising new Strategy. His devotion to seeing this task through was singular and I am in his debt.
The first network to be launched was ‘HPV Action’, dedicated to achieving the elimination of all HPV caused cancers in Europe as a public health problem. This is a case study of where a range of small steps - on vaccination uptake, on screening, treatment and research - when put together, could achieve an enormous whole, well within our own lifetimes. But many different professions and interest groups have their role to play, and that means bringing people together for unified purpose.
The next two networks to launch will be ‘Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation’ and expansion of our ‘Quality Cancer Care’ initiative, with others thereafter.
This means that as the EU Cancer Mission and Plan are rolled out we will have communities of action ready to input, and ready to implement. Ready to inform about the hundreds of small and larger steps already taken. Ready to advise on what is required to reach the next level.
Best wishes for a great 2020
Dr Matti Aapro
President of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO)
Read the report from ECCO meeting with the EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides here.
Watch ECCO President Dr Matti Aapro and EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber discussing the EPP masterplan to beat cancer in the EU here.
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