A new network addressing patient needs in times of crisis

24 June 2024

In recent years, crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have had a significant impact on cancer patients, emphasising the need for global collaboration in response. To that end,  the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) has created a new Focused Topic Network on Emergencies and Crises so that the cancer community can better anticipate and prepare for the urgent needs of cancer patients in emergency situations.

Emergencies Network Image

The new network brings together participants from more than 150 organisations.

Mike Morrissey, CEO of the European Cancer Organisation:

'emergencies announce mikeOur ability to withstand future challenges that will affect cancer patients depend on the preparedness and resilience of our healthcare systems. We are delighted that people of the calibre of Mark and Jacek have stepped up to lead this new focused topic network, particularly as we see more and more challenges to cancer patients emerging in conflict, crises and emergency situations.'

Dr Julie Gralow, Chief Medical Officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), one of the partners in this new network:

emergencies announce julie'Since the early days of the war in Ukraine, ASCO has been privileged to collaborate with the European Cancer Organisation and its members and partners to respond to the crisis.  We have seen what collective action can do, and in turn we have all learned much from this experience. Regrettably, emergencies and crises will continue to confront the global cancer community - but if we are able to learn from our experiences and work collectively, we can mitigate their effects for the betterment of patients with cancer around the world.'

Prof Mark Lawler, Queen’s University Belfast, UK, and network Co-Chair:   

'emergencies announce markWe cannot stand by – we must stand shoulder to shoulder with our cancer patients and our colleagues.   We need to be proactive, not reactive. We need to deliver robust “on the ground” solutions with the urgency that is required to make a real difference to cancer patients and cancer health systems, locally, nationally and globally. This network will position us to do just that.'

Prof Jacek Jassem, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland, and network Co-Chair:

emergencies announce jacek'As a resident of a country neighbouring Ukraine, these issues are very close to my heart. Oncology is a particular case because harmed care will have irreversible consequences. Everything must be done to preserve its continuity in all emergency areas. International organisations such as ECO have an essential role to play here. This is our moral obligation.'

Gilliosa Spurrier-Bernard, Co-Chair of ECO’s Patient Advocacy Committee and Co-Chair of ECO’s European Cancer Summit 2024:

gilly transparent‘Patients suffer from the state of poly-crisis that our health communities endure from climate change, epidemics, conflict etc. Being able to develop strategies that pre-empt the impact of these on cancer patients and building resilience and adaptability into our health systems is essential for cancer outcomes. Patient Organisations are keen to be at the centre of developing strategies and solutions to mitigate the impact of an unstable world on patients. I am happy that there will be a session developed by the Emergency and Crisis Network at the European Cancer Summit 2024 in Brussels and online.’

Tackling future emergencies and crises requires a team effort. The more united we are, the more resilient we are. Thus, we welcome new partner organisations to join this network to prepare our medical systems for the unpredictable.

For more details of ECO’s Focused Topic Networks, please visit the dedicated webpage.

A new network addressing patient needs in times of crisis