ECCO 2019 European Cancer Summit

Preliminary Programme

Updated on 6 May 2019             

Thursday 12 September 2019

13:00 - 14:00

Welcome and introduction to Summit



This session will feature a report back on elements of progress made in respect to the themes and issues given attention at the ECCO 2018 European Cancer Summit, including, but not limited to, the

ECCO 2018 European Cancer Summit resolutions on:
- measurement of quality cancer care;
- integration of cancer care;
- survivorship (financial discrimination)

Other areas of focus at the 2018 Summit included Outcomes Research, Big Data, Value Based Healthcare, and Efficiency in Cancer Care.


Session Co-Chairs: Prof Philip Poortmans and Dr Ian Banks


14:00 - 15:30

‘Putting a person on the moon’: How to deliver mission orientated cancer activity


The MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) group has recently stated that Beating Cancer is ‘Mission Possible’. ECCO couldn’t agree more.

But with a wealth of micro and macro missions stated on cancer, both nationally and internationally, what is the secret to implementation success in reaching ambitious goals?

The session will examine, variously, EU mission activity on cancer, sector and tumour specific targets for improvement, and the goal orientated approaches employed by ECCO member societies and patient associations.

How can multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary action be effectively harnessed and targeted towards obtainment of a shared goal in cancer?

What have we learned so far, and what are the secrets of mission success?

15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 - 18:00 Resolution Session: Eliminating HPV related cancers


The goal of eliminating HPV related cancers is a mercifully obtainable one, but requires a truly multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary effort to achieve.

How close are we to reaching this goal? What still stands in the way? Can a fresh consensus and coalition for action be expressed and formed via the Summit session?


Investigating matters such as gender neutral vaccination, the economic evidence for prevention actions, relevant and recent EU and national experiences and matters of important social science consideration (e.g. combatting ‘fake news’ about vaccination), the session will seek to further illuminate the path forward for progress and connect stakeholders in resolve to go further faster.

18:00 - 20:00 Welcome Reception

Friday 13 September 2019

09:00 - 11:00 Diagnosis: From cutting edge to daily reality


Earlier and better diagnosis is fundamental to achieving improved outcomes in cancer, and it is therefore heartening to witness revolutionary technological improvements in this area, including liquid biopsies, genetic testing and exciting advances in the field of imaging.

But serious challenges remains in not only bringing these breakthroughs into daily practice, but also separating hype from reality where required, understanding any necessary caveats to their application, meeting new unmet needs (e.g. patient counselling on genetic testing) and considering the challenges to existing service models (e.g. direct to consumer testing and the role of primary care in utilising new tools for diagnosis).

11:30 - 12:30

Keynote Speaker

12:30 - 13:30


13:30 - 15:30 Accessing treatment across borders: don’t stop us now!


8 years since EU Member States agreed to the text of an EU Cross border healthcare directive, how far on are we in respect to enabling cancer treatment across borders?

Known barriers remain, including:

  • Difficulties in sharing patient data across borders and systems;
  • Ongoing reimbursement challenges, including financial toxicity for cancer patients when meeting out of pocket payments; and
  • A continuing challenge to raise healthcare professional and patient awareness of, and access to information about, their rights to cross border treatment.

The session panel will interrogate these issues for solutions and promote constructive debate with an intention towards problem-solving.

Taking account of real life patient experiences, and the emergent European Reference Networks established in the area of cancer, work-to-date, and ongoing initiatives will be presented for examination and audience consideration.

As with all sessions at the Summit, a strong component will be contributions, experience-sharing and idea-promotion from all participants in attendance. 

15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break 
16:00 - 18:00 Investing for improvement in cancer care: How do we do this better?


Calls for more investment in aspects of cancer care come from many quarters, are almost always highly justified, and yet can almost as often be left unanswered.

Whether choosing to invest in the development of services of a particular healthcare profession, new medical or digital technologies, the latest innovations in pharmaceutical treatment, or indeed alternative health approaches, how does the finance holder choose appropriately?

Who are the real decision-makers when it comes to where finite financial resource is directed towards in cancer care?


Reflecting on issues of efficiency in cancer care, as well as judgements on value and return, the session will consider how to address continuing information gaps in this field, the data that makes the difference and how to identify and address any false incentives that can occur within existing models of financing cancer care.  

20:00 - 22:30 Networking Event

Saturday 14 September 2019

09:00 - 11:00

Clinical cancer research across Europe: Do we need to change tracks?


Precision oncology and new approaches to clinical trials are already forcing change in the way practitioners in the research environment think about evidence gathering. Meanwhile, there is a growing policy understanding of the need to employ a fuller suite of clinical outcomes within research, treatment evaluation and reimbursement decisions. This means making use of a stronger range of quality of life indicators alongside patient survival.


In a joint session ECCO and EORTC will invite summit delegates to reflect on the existing landscape of clinical cancer research across Europe, and the possibilities for improvement by paradigm shift, with the ultimate goal of better enabling rationale access to therapeutic strategies. 


Building on the ‘Manifesto for a new approach for better medicine in Europe’ and recently published proposals for reforming the model for late translational research , the session will also reflect on the role of data in driving change and improvement in research, and the remaining obstacles to more meaningful exchange between systems in this area.


Finally, the session will also consider how models of clinical research in cancer in Europe can better involve the expertise and contributions of all healthcare professionals and the patient community. 

11:00 - 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 - 12:30
Patrick Johnston Memorial Lecture

12:30 - 13:30

13:30 - 15:30

Specialisation in cancer care: It's a cross border issue



250 years ago economist Adam Smith set out how specialisation of workforces drives increased output and prosperity and helped trigger a global industrial revolution. Does specialisation in the cancer workforce have similar impacts for improving outcomes for patients and health systems?


What have been the experiences of different professions in oncology in respect to coordinating their specialisations across borders, and what are the real benefits for cancer patients when professionals are enabled to bring their skills and experience to other countries?

This session will reflect on the drivers for specialisation in oncology, examine the initiatives of different ECCO members to advance their field of practice across countries, and consider the role of the EU, national governments and others to facilitate cross border labour mobility in oncology.

15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 - 18:00 Artificial Intelligence: Breaking down borders in cancer care in ways not yet known?


Artificial intelligence in cancer care is now well past the realm of science fiction. It is here already. Some examples include:

  • The use of AI to evaluate if an X-ray is normal, allowing radiologists to focus their time more effectively on the analysis of abnormal images
  • Machine learning techniques to improve the identification of DNA mutations within cancers and even to forecast future genetic changes; and,
  • A surge of start-up companies focused on using AI and machine learning to accelerate new drug discovery and optimal use of technology in surgery and radiation oncology.


However, the introduction of Artificial Intelligence into cancer care is not without controversy nor unresolved issues. For example, a report by STAT claimed so-called “supercomputers” have been making invalid cancer treatment conclusions, raising concerns about the abilities of healthcare professionals to detect and prevent such new forms of potential error in treatment. Equally, there is a need to manage effectively the shift in healthcare professional roles that must surely follow the introduction of artificial intelligence in the conduct of tasks currently conducted by humans.


This Summit session will investigate how to maximise the benefits of AI for cancer care, while simultaneously taking actions to prevent unintended deleterious impacts. 

18:00 - 18:15 Summit Closing