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Queen’s Professor plays lead role in delivering European Code of Cancer Practice for cancer patients

The European Cancer Organisation has today (Wednesday 23 September) launched a new initiative, the European Code of Cancer Practice (“The Code”), which will empower European citizens and cancer patients to receive better care, treatment and support.

The Code has 10 key overarching ‘Rights’ (, which will signpost cancer patients in Europe to what they should expect from their healthcare system in order for them to achieve the best possible outcomes. 

The Code has been co-produced by a team of cancer professionals, cancer patients and patient advocates, through the auspices of the European Cancer Organisation and endorsed by many other professional and patient societies. The initiative was Co-Chaired by Professor Mark Lawler from Queen’s University Belfast and Kathy Oliver, Vice-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation’s Patient Advisory Committee. 

Professor Mark Lawler, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen's University Belfast, Board Member of the European Cancer Organisation and Co-Chair of the European Code of Cancer Practice Initiative, said: “This is a momentous day for cancer patients across the whole of Europe. The European Code of Cancer Practice, co-created by patients and health professionals, provides the impetus to ensure that European citizens and patients receive the best possible care for their cancer. 

“The Code will empower patients across Europe to seek out the best available care. It is a People’s Code – owned by all Europeans, from Gearoid in Galway, Ireland, to Aergul in Ankara, Turkey; from Taavi in Tampere, Finland, to Beatrici in Birgu, Malta. The Rights that we are championing in the European Code of Cancer Practice will empower European citizens to survive cancer and to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.” 

Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “The co-creation of the European Code of Cancer Practice by patients and healthcare professionals is about partnerships. Partnership between health care professionals and patients all working together to improve the realities of cancer. This is an initiative that brings all together at the same table where decisions are made. 

“From our side, with our upcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the new EU4Health Programme and the forthcoming Pharmaceutical Strategy, we are working in the same direction as the Code by promoting Equal Access, Quality of Life, Survivorship and other important rights. Today is another important day in the shared work we are all committed to in creating a better future for cancer patients across Europe.” 

Dr Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, said: “The European Code of Cancer Practice focuses on informing and supporting in a complete yet simple manner cancer patients at all stages of their cancer journey. It is an important complement to the European Cancer Organisation Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care publications. This powerful new tool sets out the core requirements for excellence in clinical cancer practice to improve outcomes for all cancer patients in Europe.” 

Kathy Oliver, Vice-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation’s Patient Advisory Committee and Co-Chair of the European Code of Cancer Practice initiative, said: “From today, cancer patients across Europe can turn to the Code and know exactly what their rights are throughout the whole of the cancer pathway. “The Rights are based on available supporting literature and evidence; they’ve been translated into many European languages and expressed in simple, straightforward text. The Code also provides a framework around which quality standards, policies and practices for excellent cancer care can be developed, delivered and monitored.”

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Photo: Professor Mark Lawler

Professor Mark Lawler

The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research

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