February 4th is #WorldCancerDay. Here at Youth Cancer Europe, we continue to fight harder than ever to ensure that the voices of young cancer patients and survivors are heard across the continent, empowering them to become a key part of how cancer treatment and after-care is shaped in their own territories, and ensuring that the best possible, quality treatment is accessible to all regardless of where they come from.
In August this year we landed in Vilnius for our latest annual meeting. Over 100 attendees from 22 countries, which included cancer patients and survivors, charity workers, policy makers, patient advocates and industry figures, gathered over the course of three days of presentations, forums and panel discussions to set the Youth Cancer Europe agenda for 2018.
Fostering direct contact between different collectives, and ensuring that the voices of patients and survivors become a key part of how treatment and after-care is shaped across the continent were a major part of the discussions. Over the weekend, the sessions included examples of best practice from all over Europe, highlighting the sometimes enormous differences in quality of care offered to young patients across countries; a key issue that Youth Cancer Europe is fighting to change. Panel discussions with inspirational speakers on public policy encouraged young patients and survivors to get directly involved in policy-making and lobbying in their own countries.
Attendees were also treated to a social programme that included evening visits to some of the top landmarks in Vilnius and surrounding area, such as the Vilnius TV tower or the stunning Trakai Island.
Countries represented in the Youth Cancer Europe 2017 annual meeting included Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Sweden and United Kingdom.