This meeting brought together international cancer patient associations to encourage exchange of best practices facilitate network building amongst the groups and to provide a foundation for the development and implementation of effective advocacy strategies.
The meeting opened with a session which discussed patients needs immediately followed by one on how policy makers take decisions at different levels. “In order to bring about change in the battle against cancer we need to use our personal experience in a political way” said Stella Kyriakides President Europa Donna Cyprus.
In a collaborative workshop on how to develop strategies in government relations what and what not to do when addressing policy makers Ms. Pascale Blaes (ESMO) stated that “cancer patient organisations need to adopt a variety of activities on different levels including mainly the national level taking into account specific national characteristics”.
A second highly interactive workshop on media relations proposed practical tools for attracting the attention of the media and Lynn Faulds Wood chairperson of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) was instrumental in getting participants to share their ideas for attracting media attention and fund raising.
"Patients need to make themselves heard on an international level" says Heinz Ludwig Chairman of the ESMO Patient Seminar Working Group. “Working together we can make things better."
There are few fields in clinical medicine that are expanding as rapidly as oncology and better cooperation is vital.