European Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month March 2008
4th March 2008, European Parliament in Brussels

europacolon celebrated the launch of the first European Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (ECCAM) on March 2008 with a hugely successful exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels's on 4th, 5th and 6th of March. europacolon were most grateful to have the support of Mr Robert Sturdy MEP who sponsored the exhibition . Mr Sturdy said "I am delighted to be part of this key initiative by europacolon. Too many people currently die of this potentially highly treatable disease, and it is our responsibility to ensure that patients are not left alone in their struggle against colorectal cancer".

The event included a walk-through inflatable colon, the 'EUROCOLON' aimed to educate the public on colorectal cancer and other diseases of the intestine. Attendees also had the opportunity to perform a simulated colonoscopy on one of the latest training machines available today.

The Awareness Month was officially launched at a Cocktail Reception on the Tuesday evening by Mr Sturdy and Dr Adamas Adamou (co chair of the MEP's Against Cancer) Dr Adamou explained how MEP's had signed a declaration asking the Council and Commission to formulate a comprehensive strategy addressing the five basic cancer control factors: prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up and palliative care.

europacolon were honoured that the exhibition was also attended by the President of the Parliament, Mr Hans-Gert Pöttering and the Director General of DG Sanco, Mr Robert Madelin.

A media event was held on the morning of the 5th March where new emerging data was presented covering preliminary findings of a comprehensive study of colorectal cancer services across Europe. The initiative, led by Professor Panos Kanavos and his team at the London School of Economics exposed considerable inequalities in standards of care, access to treatments, screening programmes and survival rates for colorectal cancer patients within EU member states.

europacolon's affiliate groups were represented at the event with the organsiation facilitating one-to-one meetings between the affiliates and their respective MEP's. The one-to-one's allowed affiliate groups to discuss local issues with the people who can influence change and improve services. Literature was available in nine languages, in addition, attendees were able to view europacolon's new and improved website.

Over 400 people visited the exhibition with almost all walking through the inflatable colon and attempting a simulated colonoscopy. Many younger visitors were drawn to the Exhibition and this included a large group of Italian school children who were having a guided tour of the Parliament. Jola Gore-Booth pointed out to them that they should take home to their parents and grandparents the awareness and prevention message. In almost a role reversal they were encouraged to educate their families about colorectal cancer.

Media interest in the event was unprecedented ranging from BBC Parliament to CNN World News. Throughout March events are taking place across Europe particularly in europacolon's affiliate member states gaining masses of media interest and therefore raising the profile of colorectal cancer and the issues surrounding this highly preventable and treatable disease.