The Economist’s War on Cancer
The Economist Second Annual War on Cancer 2016 brought together over 150 global leaders in oncology to explore solutions to the mismatch in progress and delivery in cancer care across Europe. The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) was represented by Vice President, Kathi Apostolidis and Dr. Lydia Makaroff, ECPC Director.
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The forum discussed innovative approaches to cancer prevention and treatment, solutions to overcome shortcomings in delivery and examples of best practices and opportunities for cross-sectoral collaboration.
Kathi Apostolidis discussed the need for patient-centric national cancer control plans.
“The implementation of national cancer controls plans is very important. They have to be more than just a piece of paper. National cancer control plans can be a way of reducing disparities, but all stakeholders need to take ownership. There is also a need to spread the word about the European code against cancer – the 12 ways to reduce your cancer risk, such as not smoking, physical activity, healthy diet, and avoiding too much sun.”
Dr. Lydia Makaroff spoke about immuno-therapy:
“Patients are asking us about immuno-therapy. What is immuno-therapy? Is there one approved for my cancer? Is there a clinical trial near me? We have put the answers to all these questions on our website at iop.ecpc.org/.”
ECPC Vice President, Kathi Apostolidis, also took an active part in a workshop, where she examined aspects of cancer in the workplace. The problems faced by cancer patients in keeping their job during treatment were discussed. Kathi Apostolidis commented:
“There is a big gap between what happens in large companies and small family-owned businesses that cannot financially afford to keep the job open for a staff member with a serious diagnosis (…) Cancer does not mean immediate retirement from work, as we see in many countries. There is a lot of advocacy work to be done in this area to empower patients to keep their jobs”.
ECPC advocates for an active survivorship and the possibility for cancer patients to have rehabilitation and reintegration to social life and work.
Lydia Makaroff, also contributed to a strategy session on tobacco and cancer, debating the question “Should tobacco taxes be used to fund cancer care?”. This session explored the proposal of earmarking tobacco tax revenues specifically for funding cancer care.