New €1.2 million project to establish cancer
communications network in Europe
22 July 2009
An initiative to boost cancer prevention, treatment and care
throughout Europe by improving communications within the cancer
community was launched this week.
The Eurocancercoms project is an initiative of the European Institute
of Oncology and is led by ECCO — the European Cancer Organisation and
ecancermedicalscience (an online, open access journal). The project will involve all those with an interest in cancer, from
researchers and doctors to patients.
The project is funded by a €1.2 million grant from the European
Commission’s FP7 programme. The aim is to establish a single, efficient
network for cancer communications in Europe, and a new website
www.eurocancercoms.eu plays a
key role in this ambitious initiative.
Professor Alexander M.M. Eggermont, president of ECCO, explained:
“There is an urgent need in Europe to improve communications between
everyone working in cancer and between them and patients. Europe has an
increasing number of cancer patients and worse outcomes for care,
despite having better quality clinical research than the USA.
survival is unacceptably variable in different European countries. A
previous study (EUROCAN+PLUS) identified poor communication between all
those involved in cancer care as one of the main reasons for these poor
outcomes. Eurocancercoms aims to address these problems by creating a
‘one-stop shop’ for the whole cancer community from scientists to
The principal investigator of Eurocancercoms is Professor Umberto
Veronesi, scientific director of the European Institute of Oncology in
Milan. Professor Eggermont and Professor Gordon McVie (founding editor
of ecancermedicalscience) are leading the project, while Richard
Sullivan, Professor at King’s Health Partners Integrated Cancer Centre
at King’s College London (UK), is the project manager.
Eurocancercoms will look at issues surrounding the communication and
dissemination of cancer information across Europe, identify the
bottlenecks and suggest solutions. It will do this by:
- examining the flow of information between basic scientists and
other healthcare professionals;
- assessing the way cancer research results are disseminated and
identifying the existing barriers to successful dissemination;
- establishing searchable databases for clinical trials and guidelines
that are available to all involved in cancer care, including patients;
- using new technologies, particularly internet-based technologies, to
create a networked cancer community, including health professionals,
patients, consumer groups and industry;
- writing policies for promoting the best ways of disseminating cancer
science across Europe.
Prof Sullivan, who also heads the European Cancer Managers’ Forum
which examines cancer research and funding in Europe, said: “I think
this is a unique opportunity for cancer in Europe. It is a marvellous
opportunity to understand what are the key issues in cancer
communication and to create novel ways of getting information out to
both the professionals and the patients.
“This will be the first time that lots of very large groups involved
in cancer in Europe have come together to improve cancer communications.
There’s no doubt that people of all ages and demographic profiles are
using the internet, including cancer professionals.
"We need to
understand 21st century communications, particularly electronic
communications. For instance, at the moment the way we communicate with
patients is still the classical method of putting leaflets in doctors’
surgeries; but patients are not picking these up any more; they are
going online and finding information on the web and through social
"People are changing and electronic resources are the
future. We are working in a different world and the way that we work has
to reflect this.”
He concluded: “Eurocancercoms will build on Europe’s strengths in
terms of existing cancer networks, cancer information websites and so
on. Europe is very diverse, but we will be able to network all these
different sources of information together and that’s what makes
Eurocancercoms unique. It’s ambitious but we wouldn’t be doing it if we
didn’t think we could deliver.”
Bookmark this page