Convening the next generation of oncology leaders for fairer healthcare systems and a stronger workforce

28 April 2023

On 14 April, I had the privilege of taking part in the inaugural meeting of ECO's new Young Cancer Professionals group. More than 80 participants joined online, and it was a true multidisciplinary audience. We had nurses, radiologists, medical oncologists, and others, from all across Europe.  

The philosophy behind this initiative is to provide professionals with a platform to work together in support of the European Cancer Organisation and its mission to improve cancer care quality and access.   

Many took this recent opportunity to raise concerns: issues about leadership, about capacity building, about participation in decision making, there were so many views on so many topics. I found it energising to see my younger colleagues contribute as the meeting progressed and I could see synergies on topics of mutual interest begin to rise.  

It is clear that young professionals hold a different perspective on many issues. They see things with a fresh eye and are more willing to question the status quo – including the guidelines, which more seasoned colleagues typically take for granted. Younger professionals can often find new approaches to old problems. And the ECO needs that perspective, especially when it comes to the EU Beating Cancer Plan which many of them will eventually be called upon to implement.   

Take another hot topic: workforce shortages. Young professionals are typically experiencing those shortages with greater intensity and depth than their colleagues. So they can help the ECO formulate our upcoming Workforce Campaign so that it also supports those in early career positions, and in a language they understand and in a context they are practising.  

The things they experience, the problems they face, the challenges they meet, the interactions they have with patients, advocates, and caregivers – through it all, they are constantly expected to defer to their senior colleagues. ECO's Young Cancer Professionals group is a chance for them to provide unvarnished feedback that can better inform our decisions. Otherwise, the ECO runs the risk of deciding issues in a way that lacks relevance to that growing segment of our community.   

I have personally been involved with young cancer professionals in the European Oncology Nursing Society, and they are doing an amazing job. They have become a driving force on capacity building initiatives that are helping respond to the challenges of everyday practice.  

The ECO will be a stronger, more resilient organisation because of its new Young Cancer Professionals group. I applaud those who have already joined, and I strongly encourage others to do likewise. This is a rare opportunity to help change the future. The seed has been sown… 

For more information or to register, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With gratitude and very best wishes, 

Andreas Charalambous

President, European Cancer Organisation (ECO)