Making a Difference in Cancer Prevention and Control
Friday 15 December 2017
The European Code Against Cancer turns 30:
Awareness of cancer prevention is growing … yet more needs to be done!
Brussels, 15 December – The 30th anniversary of the first edition of the European Code Against Cancer (ECAC) is celebrated today with encouraging news that awareness of cancer prevention is on the rise.
According to a recent online survey by the Association of the European Cancer Leagues (ECL), 82% of people understand that people can reduce their risk of getting cancer in the future by making changes to their lifestyle. This is an increase on the result of the previous survey (performed in 2015*) when 78% of people believed cancer could be prevented through making lifestyle changes.
The survey, based on a total sample of 8,171 people (aged 18+) in Finland, France, Hungary, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom, reported that 13% of people had previously head of ECAC. The response to the same question 2015 had been 10%, demonstrating that progress is being made in promoting ECAC.
Examining the picture at the national level reveals a mixed picture: 21% of people in Hungary and Poland are aware of the European Code against Cancer, whilst just 2% of people in the UK stated that they had heard of ECAC prior to the survey. Awareness of ECAC also varies according to age with 17% of 18-34 year olds reporting that they are aware of ECAC. Almost one in three 18-24 year olds in Spain (30%), and near to one in three 25-34 year olds in Poland (30%), responded that they had heard of the European Code against Cancer.
Almost two-thirds of people (64%) think that they are likely to make changes to their lifestyle after reading ECAC, which is an increase on the 2015 survey (52%). Amongst people who had previously heard of the European Code against Cancer, four in five (79%) are likely to make changes to their lifestyle to reduce their risk of cancer.
Commenting on the results current ECL President Sakari Karjalainen (Secretary General of the Cancer Society of Finland) observed:
“The European Code against Cancer is the essential tool for informing citizens of what they can do to reduce their cancer risk, according to the best available scientific knowledge.
It is, therefore, encouraging that awareness of ECAC is growing across Europe, especially amongst younger people.
Yet, more needs to be done to increase this awareness in all countries and, more importantly, to support people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.”
To celebrate the 30th anniversary, ECL’s Youth Ambassador group have posted a video with 12 messages of the ECAC recited in the 12 different languages of the ambassadors involved. The video is freely available to share on social media, so please share and support the promotion of the European Code against Cancer!
The video is available on ECL’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CancerLeagues; and Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/europeancancerleagues/youthambassadors.
You can see our infographic on the European Code against Cancer survey results here.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.
Total sample size in 2015 was 6,109 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st October - 2nd November 2015. The survey was carried out online.
Total sample size in 2017 was 8,171 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th - 24th October 2017. The survey was carried out online.
About the European Code Against Cancer
The European Code Against Cancer is an initiative of the European Commission to inform people about actions they can take for themselves or their families to reduce their risk of cancer. The current fourth edition consists of twelve recommendations that most people can follow without any special skills or advice. The more recommendations people follow, the lower their risk of cancer will be. It has been estimated that almost half of all deaths due to cancer in Europe could be avoided if everyone followed the recommendations.
The 4th edition has been prepared by cancer specialists, leading scientists, and other experts from across the European Union in a project coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), with financial support from the EU Health Programme.
The European Code against Cancer is available in 23 EU languages at: http://cancer-code-europe.iarc.fr/index. You can also find about more information by visiting the ECL website at www.cancercode.eu.
About the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL)
The Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) provides a unique platform in Europe as the only organisation with the mission of uniting, at the European level, national and regional cancer leagues to achieve a cancer-free Europe. Active since 1980, ECL currently has 26 members from 23 countries in the European Region, covering 19 EU member states. ECL is a non-profit organisation registered and headquartered in Belgium.
ECL has received funding under an operating grant (nr. 747456) from the 3rd EU health programme (2014-2020). The views expressed in this text, and by ECL, do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.
For further information about ECL, please call +32 (0) 2 256 2000 or visit www.europeancancerleagues.org.
Site Visits Report 2015-2016
Cancer leagues the breadth of Europe have tirelessly promoted ECAC to citizens and political decision-makers for the past 30 years. In order capture insights into effective methods for communicating ECAC, ECL conducted a series of site visits to several cancer organisations whom are particularly active in disseminating ECAC.
The aim of the visits was to get first-hand insights into the practical realities of communicating the ECAC and associated primary prevention initiatives. The main objectives of the visits are to identify good practice in communicating the ECAC; learn about the methods used by host sites; and collect relevant information during the visit that can support the transferral or scaling-up of good practice.
In total, 4 site visits were conducted between November 2015 and December 2016. The host organisations of these visits were:
The site visit process proved to be a highly rewarding and useful method for the ECL secretariat to identify best practices for communicating ECAC and to understand the prioritisation of the host organisations.
You can read the report here.
ECL MICROGRANT PROGRAM 2016:
OVERVIEW OF SUPPORTED ACTIONS
In 2016, ECL launched its first series of microgrants to support the dissemination of the 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer (ECAC) at the national and local levels.
8 cancer leagues were successful in their applications. This led to the production of various publications like the "easy guide the European Code against Cancer" developed by Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, which is aimed at people with learning difficulties; events such as the Irish Cancer Society's "decoding cancer" public talks, which seeks to dispel cancer myths; a plethora of information materials for schools and young people; and support to boost popular public health campaigns organized by cancer leagues in Catalonia, Slovenia, and Slovakia.
This short document provides a concise overview of the actions supported by each successful application to Microgrant programme, which has helped disseminate the ECAC to more than 250,000 people!
ECL hopes to build on this success for the next edition of the programme in 2017.
You will find the summary report of all the actions here
European Code Against Cancer workshop held during Cancon joint action final conference in Malta
In cooperation with the Maltese Ministry of Health and the Maltese Presidency of the European Union, on 13 February 2017, ECL organised the latest in a series of workshops for cancer leagues to share experiences of disseminating the European Code Against Cancer. The workshop was convened to coincide with the final conference of the Cancon joint action, which took place on 14 and 15 February in St Julian's bay, Malta.
The workshop was attended by close to 40 participants including numerous local delegates, representatives of cancer leagues from across Europe and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The purpose of the event was to discuss the use of the European Code Against Cancer as a tool to advocate for governmental actions that can support the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer.
Prof. Bettina Borisch (University of Geneva and World Federation of Public Health Associations) gave the keynote presentation during the workshop, which provided participants with a framework with which to discuss the issue in small working groups.
Discussions amongst attendees covered the key priority areas for cancer prevention in the respective countries, the status of national cancer plans and how the recommendations of the European Code Against cancer are addressed therein, and identifying the needs for improving the present a situation. A brief workshop report shall soon be available on the ECL website.
Prof. Bettina Borisch
Cancer leagues meet at IARC to discuss dissemination of the European Code Against Cancer
On 22 and 23 September 2016, representatives from a number of cancer leagues and societies in Europe gathered at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon to discuss the current status of dissemination of the European Code Against Cancer (ECAC). Also in attendance were representatives of national ministries of health and public health agencies, alongside the European Commission and representatives of IARC.
In addition to a country-by-country update of the current promotion activities for the ECAC, topics for discussion included a proposal for the evaluation of the impact of ECAC; cooperation with organised cancer screening programmes; and an in-depth introduction to the work of IARC, with particular attention paid to the IARC Monographs.
2nd annual Youth Ambassasdors for Cancer Prevention workshop – Brussels, 14-15 July
The 2nd annual youth ambassadors workshop for cancer prevention took place on 14 and 15 July in Brussels Belgium. 21 youth ambassadors from 18 different countries took part in this year's workshop, which focused on "new approaches for promoting health – understanding and applying the key concepts."
Ambassadors recieved a guided tour of the European Parliament, faciltated by EU40: the network for young Members fo the European Parliament, before getting down to the serious work of the workshop. Expert presentations were provided by Brigitte Boonen (Belgian Foundation Against Cancer), Damian Dylla (IOGT Poland), and Vivien Deloge & Pauline LeJaune (Génération Cobayes).
You can read the workshop report by clicking HERE.
Pilot Train the Trainer workshop – Bucharest, Romania
ECL ran the pilot "train the trainer" workshop in Bucharest on 19 & 20 April 2016 as a side event to the launch of the national cancer plan for Romania.
The purpose of the workshop was to trial a new training programme focused on broadening the dissemination of the European Code Against Cancer by inviting a broad range of professionals (i.e. those working in ministries, local and regional authorities, health professionals and civil society groups) to learn about the Code and how its messages be better spread and adopted in the population.
Over twenty professionals attended the two day training, which included a mixture presentations and interactive sessions. Presentations on the day were provided by Wienke Voss (German Cancer Society) and Miguel Pina (Portuguese Cancer League), in addition to Sarah Chadwick (Irish Cancer Society) who presented via video link.
Initial feedback from the workshop has been very positive. The evaluation of the workshop's effectiveness as a training tool will take place during the coming months, which will be complimented by smaller follow-up meetings at a local level in order to encourage the application of the learning in practice.
Read the narrative report of the pilot train the trainer workshop HERE.
Launch of ECAC public survey *** UPDATE *** Please visit the following link to read the descriptive report of the survey results: HERE.
Ahead of this year's European Week Against Cancer, ECL is launching a public survey to understand better the general public's knowledge and application of the European Code Against Cancer.
This follows on from public opinion survey conducted in late 2015, which found that 10% of respondents were familiar with the European Code Against Cancer (to read more visit HERE.
Our new survey will delve deeper by looking further at the knowledge and application of the European Code Against Cancer's recommendations in practice.
2016: ECAC Instagram account launched
To kick off the New Year, ECL has launched a new Instagram account to promote the European Code Against Cancer. You can visit the page at - https://www.instagram.com/cancercode/
The initiative to launch an Instagram account comes from our "Youth Ambassadors" group, who informed us that this platform is a quick and effective way to promote the Code with interesting and engaging visual messages.
Instagram also allows us to promote the Code through fun initiatives such as the #healthyshelfie social media campaign run by the Scottish Network for Cancer Prevention. The aim of this campaign is to promote healthy dietary choices for cancer prevention by engaging social media followers, stimulate reflection on dietary choices and encourage participation in the campaign by posting further #healthyshelfie images.
In January, the campaign focused on the dietary messages from the European Code Against Cancer:
• Eat plenty of wholegrains, pulses, vegetables and fruits,
• Limit high-calorie foods and avoid sugary drinks
• Avoid processed meat, limit red meat and foods high in salt
Find out more at https://scpnblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/healthyshelfie/.
In addition, we will also synchronise our efforts with the newly established CanCon Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/eu_cancon/) in order to jointly publicise our common interests.
Please let us know if you are interested to collaborate on social media!
Latest journal article on the European Code Against Cancer published
The paper is a useful tool for explaining why the current recommendations have been selected, and why other issues are not present in this edition of the Code.
The paper can be accessed at: http://cancer-code-europe.iarc.fr/images/doc/2_methodology.pdf. All currently published articles can be viewed at: http://cancer-code-europe.iarc.fr/index.php/en/scientific-justification
Brussels, 17 September 2015 As the European Cancer community gathered to celebrate '30 years of EU action on Cancer' the official translations of the 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer were published online.
Now available in 23 official EU languages, the European Code Against Cancer is one of the key achievements of the EU's action on Cancer, having been first launched in 1987.
The European Code Against Cancer is an initiative of the European Commission that has been coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It provides the public with 12 recommendations that they can follow in order to reduce their risk of cancer. Based on the best available scientific evidence, the new edition of the Code provides sound guidance that encourages everybody to take positive steps towards preventing cancer.
The translations have undergone a rigorous process to ensure that each version accurately reflects the style and tone of the original, English language version. This now means that European citizens have access to this vital cancer prevention tool in their own language.
To access the translations, and learn more about the Code, please visit:
• European Commission webpage on Cancer
• International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
• Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL)
Online survey - October-November 2015
Belfast, UK (Northern Ireland) November 12 2015
All Europe, deadline October 25
Luxembourg, September 15 2015
Brno, Czech Republic, May 30 2015
Luxembourg, April 13 2015
Brussels, December 10 2014