ACHIEVE CONTRIBUTES TO AN ECPC WEBINAR ON CANCER PREVENTION AND VIRAL INFECTIONS ON THE OCCASION OF THE EUROPEAN WEEK AGAINST CANCER
On the occasion of the European Week Against Cancer (EWAC), the ACHIEVE Coalition and the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) supported on Wednesday 26 of June the organisation of the webinar ‘How to avoid viral exposure that can increase your cancer risk? Preventing cancers caused by infections’ hosted by the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) with support from the European Cancer Organisation (ECO).
Speaking about cancer prevention opportunities linked to hepatitis elimination, MEP Radan Kanev (EPP Group Bulgaria) urged EU policymakers to reduce the cancer burden in Europe by accelerating the elimination of viral hepatitis (responsible for 76% of liver cancer cases worldwide) in the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. For MEP Kanev, the EU should also implement the Council Recommendation on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and support funding for initiatives targeting communicable diseases, such as a EU4Health-funded communicable diseases network.
EASL EU Policy Councillor Prof Maria Buti discussed the linkage between viral hepatitis and liver cancer, and ACHIEVE Co-Chair Ivana Dragojevic provided a patient perspective on the challenges faced by people living with hepatitis-caused liver cancer.
ACHIEVE is a member of the Cancer Complications and Comorbidities Initiative led by the ECPC. Read here the White Paper on Cancer Comorbidities and Complications to which ACHIEVE contributed with a section on the relationship between hepatitis and cancer.
8 OCTOBER WEBINAR: ‘EU4HEALTH – HOW CAN A EUROPEAN REFERENCE NETWORK ON COMMUNICABLE DISEASES ADVANCE HEPATITIS ELIMINATION?’
On Thursday, October 8, 2020, ACHIEVE held an online conference on how a European Reference Network or excellence network on communicable diseases can help advance the fight against hepatitis. The list of panelists included Professor Dr. Ansgar W. Lohse, Coordinator of the European Reference Network for Rare Liver diseases (ERN RARE-LIVER); Professor Dr. Jeffrey Lazarus, Head of the Health Systems Research Group at ISGlobal, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona; Dr. Ricardo Baptista Leite, Founder and President of UNITE, the global network of Parliamentarians committed to achieving political impact towards ending infectious diseases as global health threat; and George Kalamitsis, ACHIEVE Co-Chair and President of Liver Patients International. Please find the conference’s main highlights below.
Hepatitis B and C included in the mandate of the European Parliament’s new Special Committee on Cancer
ACHIEVE is pleased about the European Parliament’s decision to establish a Special Committee on Beating Cancer.
In its decision, the European Parliament references the WHO which includes hepatitis B and C amongst the key preventable risk factors for cancer.
As such, the Special Committee will seek to identify measures to increase vaccinations and treatments for infections.
Please find the full mandate of the European Parliament’s special committee on beating cancer here.
“HCC – An Avoidable Fate: To Liver Cancer Prevention by Hepatitis Elimination”, Conference under the auspices of the Croatian EU Council Presidency, 9 June 2020, Zagreb
Please find below the recording of the contribution by ACHIEVE Co-chair Luís Mendão on the importance of EU support in driving forward viral hepatitis elimination and reducing the burden of liver cancer.
EU needs to scale up efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis and prevent liver cancer. Latest ECDC data show no reduction in hepatitis related mortality, jeopardizing 2030 WHO elimination target
In the February edition of the Lancet Global Health, authors from the International Agency on Research in Cancer published an article “Global Burden Of Cancer Attributable To Infections In 2018: A Worldwide Incidence Analysis” . The authors identify “a crucial need for resources directed towards cancer prevention programmes that target infection, particularly in high-risk populations”, also pointing to the WHO goals of elimination of hepatitis.
On occasion of the European Week Against Cancer Dr. Sabela Lens, Hepatologist at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, explains about the link between liver cancer and viral hepatitis and what needs to be done to eliminate viral hepatitis and prevent liver cancer.
For further information, please read the ACHIEVE submission to the consultation on the European Commission Roadmap on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. EU policies to prevent liver cancer must not only target hepatitis B vaccination. Better awareness of transmission risks for hepatitis B and C, screening and linkage to care are crucial to eliminate viral hepatitis. As the ECDC pointed out in its recent monitoring report: “hepatitis related mortality is high in the region and there is very little evidence of progress towards the 2030 elimination target of a 65% reduction in mortality against the 2015 baseline.”
‘Building an EU Action Plan to drive forward the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030’ Workshop, Brussels
In December 2019, the ACHIEVE coalition hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop ‘Building an EU Action Plan to drive forward the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030’ in Brussels. Our expert speakers came from a variety of backgrounds from the ECDC, WHO, the Spanish Ministry of Health, and FIND. The workshop’s fruitful discussions led to the development of a number of considerations for what the EU can do to support the elimination of hepatitis by 2030 which have been compiled in the workshop report.
These considerations cover a range of topics including improving monitoring commitments so that the EU will fulfill its commitments to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), increasing preventative efforts such as the promotion of hepatitis B vaccination, and enhancing the diagnosis and links to care especially for vulnerable populations supporting in the delivery of UN SDGs on health and fighting discrimination.
Eliminating hepatitis would be a major public health success story for Europe, improving people’s lives and contributing to a reduction in liver related death (including liver cancer and cirrhosis) and can contribute to the delivery of the UN SDGs. As the EU is gearing up in its battle against cancer it is important that actions to eliminate hepatitis are incorporated into the wider Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
Stories to Inspire: how national, regional and local initiatives are helping to achieve viral hepatitis elimination.
Inspiring initiatives aimed at eliminating viral hepatitis are taking place across Europe. What we lack is a European framework to coordinate and direct policy efforts towards the common goal of achieving hepatitis elimination by 2030.
With the help of local organisations and professionals working in the field, the ACHIEVE Coalition has put together a collection of case studies from ten different countries: Croatia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain-Catalonia and UK-Scotland. The case studies showcase projects on screening and diagnosis among risk groups (such as PWIDs, prisoners and homeless), better linkage to care and awareness raising among healthcare professionals that can provide inspiration for future work and cooperation at EU level and among Member States. This is not an exclusive list and we are aiming to collect more stories in the course of 2020.
Time for the EU to act on viral hepatitis elimination
Professor David Goldberg (Health Protection Scotland) & experts of the ACHIEVE coalition explain what stands in the way of hepatitis elimination and why and how the EU must step up to drive forward WHO goals, which build on the UN SDG. Professor Goldberg also explains what makes the Scottish Hepatitis C Plan so successful and what are the learnings from HIV. Please listen to them and spread the word!
Prof. Pierre Van Damme Scientific Secretariat, Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board (VHPB); ACHIEVE member
Prof. Massimo Colombo Chairman of the EASL International Liver Foundation; ACHIEVE member
Prof. David Goldberg Clinical Epidemiologist and Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Health Protection Scotland
Tatjana Reic European Liver Patients’ Association (ELPA), ACHIEVE Chair Luis Mendao European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), ACHIEVE Vice-Chair Marko Korenjak European Liver Patients’ Association (ELPA), ACHIEVE Member Eberhard Schatz Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network, ACHIEVE Member
“Hepatitis mortality is higher than that from HIV and TB combined. HIV has shown us what we can achieve if we put our minds to it. It’s very exciting to take viral hepatitis towards that as well: it’s for public health and clinicians to work together, close the data gaps and realise we are working towards the same goal.”
Lina Nerlander, surveillance expert for hepatitis B and C surveillance at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) explains why the EU needs to close the data gap on hepatitis in order to meet the 2030 elimination goals. Mortality rates from hepatitis are higher in the European Region than those from HIV and tuberculosis combined.
Collecting data along the continuum of care, similar to what has been done in the field of HIV, is the key to finding the ‘missing millions’ of people who are still undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. It enables countries to assess progress while they work towards hepatitis elimination. Clinicians and public health authorities from all Member States need to work together to close the data gap and make hepatitis elimination a reality.
New EU legislature
This year’s Spring Testing Week overlapped with another important event: The European Parliament elections from 22 to 26 May. Watch and listen to ACHIEVE’s message to the new EU policymakers.
As a coalition, we come together to speak with one voice.
We represent patients and community, clinicians and researchers.