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Cancer research team wins European Health Award

 October 7, 2018 | Simon Jenkins

Creating a cancer patients’ Bill of Rights aimed at driving improvement to treatment has helped a senior Leeds researcher jointly win the 2018 European Health Award.

Professor Peter Selby from the Faculty of Medicine and Health is president of the winning European Cancer Concord, a Europe-wide group including researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, which together secured the award.  It honours initiatives that help tackle some of Europe’s most pressing health challenges.

The award-winning project ‘A Catalyst for Change: The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights’ is an empowerment tool for cancer patients across Europe and involves an equal partnership between cancer patients, healthcare professionals and cancer researchers.

One of the key outputs from the research has been the development of a 70:35 Vision, 70% long term survival for all cancer patients across Europe by 2035.

Professor Selby is Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Leeds. He said: “Our 70:35 Vision is built upon the pillars of cross border and interdisciplinary cooperation, sharing best practice and ensuring that research and innovation gets translated for the benefit of patients.”

Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast and Vice-President of ECC, received the award on behalf of the partnership during the opening ceremony of the European Health Forum Gastein, the primary European health policy conference and an official event of the Austrian European Council presidency.

In a joint statement, Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, and Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, welcomed the award: “The European Health Award is a prestigious award that recognises the very best of European collaborative approach, involving over 60 stakeholders from 25 European countries, working together for the benefit of patients.

“We are immensely proud that an initiative, which was developed and conducted by Queen’s University and the University of Leeds has been recognised across Europe as a quality exemplar of best practice.”

Professor Lawler said: “Cancer knows no borders, so it is important that we work together to develop solutions that address cancer inequalities in all parts of Europe. I am immensely proud to be accepting this award, not only on behalf of our team who have worked together over the last five years on this initiative, but also on behalf of the millions of European citizens who are living with and beyond cancer, and experiencing cancer inequalities every single day of their lives.”

Margaret Grayson, cancer survivor and Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum, said: “The news that the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights has received a top European award is wonderful. This collaborative initiative has patients absolutely at its centre.”

Speaking at the award ceremony, Professor Lawler said: “Cooperation is the key to this initiative. We need to compete, not against each other, but against our common enemy – cancer.”

Cancer research team wins European Health Award