Researchers from the University of Leeds and Queen’s University Belfast, in a partnership called the European Cancer Concord (ECC), have won the prestigious European Health Award, with their research project entitled ‘The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights: A Catalyst for Change and an empowerment tool for cancer patients across Europe’.
The award is granted to research which is helping tackle some of Europe’s most pressing health challenges.
Professor Peter Selby has been involved in the award-winning project creating a Bill of Rights for cancer patients.
— University of Leeds (@UniversityLeeds) October 4, 2018
The project aimed to promote an equal partnership between cancer patients, cancer researchers and healthcare professionals. This research aided in the development of a 70:35 Vision; by 2035, the team hopes that there will be a 70% chance of long-term survival for all cancer patients by 2035.
“We were delighted and a bit surprised to win the 2018 European Health Award”
In a statement to The Gryphon, Professor Selby commented: “We were delighted and a bit surprised to win the 2018 European Health Award, which is probably the top award for initiatives of this kind that tackle major health challenges across Europe.”
Referencing the 70:35 Vision, he told The Gryphon: “The best outcomes for cancer patients now in Europe are a long term probability of survival of 60%. The worst are down at 40%. The UK’s in the mid-50s. So the idea was a simple one: identify best practice in East European countries and share it. Promote research and innovation and aim to get all of Europe up to 70% by 2035. All of the studies show that that is a feasible goal.”
Professor Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast and Vice President of ECC, said: “Cancer knows no borders, so it’s important that we work together to develop solutions that address cancer inequalities in all parts of Europe…not only on behalf of our team who have worked together over the last five years on this initiative, but also on behalf of the millions of European citizens who are living with and beyond cancer, and experiencing cancer inequalities every single day of their lives.”
The ECC’s work aims to change the way we treat cancer patients in Europe, and to present a united front when treating patients.
“We took the unusual approach of making this an equal partnership between cancer professionals and cancer patients and patient advocates”
Professor Selby believes the team’s success lies in the initiative’s emphasis on making cancer patients equal partners in the project. He told The Gryphon: “The ideas and the implementation work were actually pretty straightforward and unremarkable based on solid existing knowledge. So why a prize? Probably because we took the unusual approach of making this an equal partnership between cancer professionals and cancer patients and patient advocates. That grounded it very firmly in local, national and international activities, is a relatively unusual way of doing things, surprisingly; gave us more attraction with governments. Cancer patients, their families, their friends, their carers and their work colleagues make up large numbers of voters.”
Selby summarised by talking about the project’s future: “Will the Bill of Rights achieve its goal? Impossible to say at this early stage, but the groundwork has been put in and there is still a great deal to do.”
Zahra Iqbal, News Editor