Head and neck cancers are the 6th most common types of cancer in Europe with more than 150,000 new patients diagnosed every year. It is approximately half as common as lung cancer, but twice as common as cervical cancer. Despite its severity and increasing prevalence within society, there is little awareness of head and neck cancer, and patient outcomes remain very poor; 60% of people with head and neck cancer present with locally advanced disease at diagnosis and 60% of people diagnosed at an advanced stage die from the disease within 5 years. However, for those patients diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, there is an 80–90% survival rate.
For several years ECPC has partnered with the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) to deliver the Make Sense Campaign aiming to raise awareness of head and neck cancer.
2017 is the fifth consecutive year that ECPC has been working with the Make Sense Campaign Team to improve patients’ outcomes and move head and neck cancer up the European healthcare agenda.
On the advent of the 2017 Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, the European Cancer Patient Coalition invited patients and policy makers to gather at the European Parliament to promote better quality of life for cancer patients and survivors as part of the Make Sense Campaign. The event was hosted by MEP Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium). This year’s awareness week theme is ‘Supporting Survivorship’.
Survivorship requires as much attention from patients and healthcare professionals as the treatment of cancer. The event marked the Campaign’s 5th consecutive Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week. Taking place from 18th to 22nd of September, the campaign was supported and celebrated around Europe, through various activities.
During the event, top experts in the field of public health and patient representatives reflected that survivorship requires a consolidated approach from patients and healthcare professionals through the use of policies to support specific needs of people affected by head and neck cancers. Without these policies, the substantial investment in treating cancer patients will not reach the goal of returning patients to normal lives.