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Cancer initiative wins The 2018 European Health Award

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Leeds as part of a pan-European partnership called the European Cancer Concord (ECC)® , have won the prestigious 2018 European Health Award. This award honours initiatives that help tackle some of Europe’s most pressing health challenges.

The award-winning project, entitled ‘The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights: A Catalyst for Change and an empowerment tool for cancer patients across Europe’ involved an equal partnership between cancer patients, healthcare professionals and cancer researchers (over 60 stakeholders from 25 European countries)

Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast received the award on behalf of the partnership during the opening ceremony of the European Health Forum Gastein, the premier European Health Policy Conference and an official event of the Austrian European Council Presidency.

Professor Lawler commented: “Cancer knows no borders, so it is important that we work together to develop solutions that address cancer inequalities in all parts of Europe. I am immensely proud to be accepting this award, not only on behalf of our team who have worked together over the last five years, 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.”   

Margaret Grayson, cancer survivor and Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum, said: “The news that the European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights has received a top European award is wonderful. This collaborative initiative has patients absolutely at its centre.  It is especially pleasing that Professor Lawler will be collecting this award at Gastein, given Northern Ireland's leadership role in the project.”

Roisin Foster, Chief Executive of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland (Cancer Focus NI) said: “We at Cancer Focus NI are delighted that the European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights has received a top European award. We worked very closely with the European Cancer Concord and adopted the 2nd article of the Bill of Rights on access to treatment underpinned by research and innovation to help drive our cancer inequalities campaign, which recently resulted in the Department of Health announcement on making innovative treatments available to cancer patients in Northern Ireland.    It is especially pleasing that Professor Lawler (who is a member of the Cancer Focus NI Board of Trustees) collected this award at the European Health Forum Gastein, given Northern Ireland's crucial leadership role in this initiative .”

Speaking at the award ceremony, Professor Lawler said: “Cooperation is the key to this initiative. We need to compete, not against each other, but against our common enemy – Cancer.” He also honoured three sadly departed  Irish cancer leaders who were involved in the initiative, Prof Donal Hollywood, Prof John Fitzpatrick and Prof Paddy Johnston, hoping that “those three proud Irishmen were looking down on this proud Irishman” as he collected the award.

Commenting on the award Prof Ian Young, Director of Health and Social Care Research and Development, Northern Ireland said. “This award highlights the leadership role that Northern Ireland has played in addressing cancer disparities across Europe and is richly deserved.”

For more details see the European Health Forum Gastein website.

Note: The European Cancer Concord (ECC) was supported by the Society for Translational Oncology and the Morrison Endowment in Leeds