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5 Things You Need to Know... March 2018

Published on 03 April 2018 back to previous

WOW !!! …..what a month!

March is always a very important month for EuropaColon as it is European Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (ECCAM) and this year was particularly special. 2018 was the 10th anniversary of ECCAM and the galvanising theme was #Time4Change.

Why #Time4Change? Well, in the words of Dr Alfred Sant, MEP, at the launch event, “not enough progress is being made towards implementing a system of colorectal cancer screening across the European Union.” We believe this is unfair and unacceptable. colorectal cancer is often preventable and treatable if caught early.

Everyone deserves the best possible chance to fight it. It is #Time4Change.

Throughout March our members have been working with politicians, clinicians, patient groups and others to spread this important message. Just a few of the highlights are included below. We will share more next month! 

1)    Amazing awareness campaigns

There have been many incredible awareness campaigns all across Europe.

In Belgium all the teams from the first and second divisions of the Belgian Soccer League actively participated in the campaign during two weekends of their season! This really helped to get the screening message out to a wide audience. In addition, pharmacies across the country coloured their shops blue to help raise awareness.

In Malta, a fantastic media campaign saw ECCAM mentioned on multiple radio and TV programmes, with a particular focus on raising awareness of the need to attend screening. These included some powerful case studies of patients explaining their experience before and after diagnosis and the benefits of early screening.

Meanwhile in Poland, there was a major awareness campaign titled “Switch Off the CRC”, which promoted the need for screening. The campaign involved a mobile clinic driving to six major Polish cities, raising awareness and providing locals with the chance to see a doctor, an educator and a dietician. Cookery workshops were also available to highlight the importance of a good diet to prevent CRC.

2)    Discussions with doctors

There were also many important debates and discussions with healthcare professionals. Sometimes it is certain conversations with certain influencers that can affect the most change.

In Poland our local partner – EuropaColon Polska - attended the 3rd International Conference on Personalized Medicine in Warsaw to discuss what needs to be done in Poland around better access to personalised medicines.

In Malta a seminar was organised for family doctors titled: “Opportunities and Challenges of Colorectal Cancer Screening”.  It raised awareness of the situation in Malta among national GPs and included best practice presentations from other countries, for inspiration. Another event in Malta focussed on colorectal cancer Nurse Navigators and their vital role in supporting patients.

3)    Partnering with politicians

Political stakeholders are vital to make legislative change a reality.

In Malta, key opinion leader Professor Stephen Halloran met with the President of Malta herself, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, at San Anton Palace. Professor Halloran informed the President about colorectal cancer screening and the unmet needs that exist in the country.

In Poland, our local partner had the opportunity to participate in a conference of the Parliamentary Team of the Organization of the Healthcare System. The focus was on optimisation the model of care for colorectal cancer patients in Poland; many issues were highlighted and there is hope for a follow-up meeting to progress this further.  

4)    Our major gastric survey is launching very soon!

It has not just been about ECCAM activities this month. Our move to embrace other digestive cancers is moving ahead swiftly and we will launch our Survey into the Experience and Needs of Oesophageal/Gastric cancer patients in early April.

We will be offering the survey in the following languages: English, Flemish, German, Greek, Italian, Latvian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Interested parties will be able to link through our website to the secure server where the information will be stored.

We are still recruiting nurses and clinicians to help us promote the survey amongst their patients. Your help in supporting this information gathering will be essential in helping us to better understand the needs of this badly served patient population. Thank you!

5)    We have been busy too…

Our team at EuropaColon have been very active over ECCAM attending various meetings in Brussels and beyond!

6th March -  MEP’s against Cancer

13th - 15th March - International Experience Exchange for Patient Organisations

19th - 20th March - Global Panel at the Fight CRC Call-on Congress

21st March - EFPIA - The Future of Health in the EU

27th March - EAPM (European Alliance for Personalised Medicine)

 

Click here to read the updates on where we have been.

ECCAM is over for another year but its legacy is only just beginning – the work that has been started over the last few weeks will have a positive impact in the months and years ahead, potentially saving many lives.

Congratulations and thank you to every single one of our 43 patient groups in 32 countries!

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