On February 4, 2021, World Cancer Day, ELPA organized the first Liver Cancer Patients’ Summit. The goal was to raise awareness about liver cancer and multidisciplinary team, focusing on information for and from patients.
After a video introduction where Dr. Tomislav Sokol, Member of the European Parliament – Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) and Member of the EP Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) endorsed the event, ELPA President Marko Korenjak presented the first speaker.
Prof. Bruno Sangro, Director of the Liver Unit, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Spain and President of ILCA (International Liver Cancer Association), in a very easy-to-understand way, gave an overview of the present and future biomarkers for screening strategy in liver cancer.
After Prof. Sangro’s presentation Dr. Teresa Casanovas, Leader of ELPA Scientific Committee, informed the audience regarding the activities and objectives of the ELPA Working Group on Primary Liver Cancer in 2021.
This first part dedicated to the scientific field was followed by two presentations by two patients’ association representatives. Ms. Zorana Maravić, acting CEO of Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE), showed what liver cancer represents for her organization. Then, Mr. Marco Greco, President of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), after introducing the EPF’s engagement at the patients’ side, analysed some aspects of the brand new EU Beating Cancer Plan.
Coming back to the medical field, Prof. Manuel Romero Gómez, Director of the Gastroenterology Service, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Sevilla, Spain, explained the attendees the relation between MAFLD and HCC as MAFLD is a risk factor for the development of different types of solid cancers.
After a short coffee break, the webinar hosted three patients’ advocates who showed different aspects of the Summit’s topic. Ms. Lone McColaugh, President of Leverforeningen, Denmark, presented the benefits for patients of primary care centres, a good practice from Denmark. Ms. Sindee Weinbaum, Leader of ELPA working group on Rare Liver Diseases, shared with the audience two testimonial videos stressing the patients’ journey of Cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis in Israel. Mr. Joan Ribas, Board member of AMTHC (Associació de malalts I trasplantats hepàtics de Catalunya), closed this session with a presentation on detected priorities of patients and families on the waiting list for liver transplant during COVID. He stressed challenges and opportunities.
The floor was given back to Dr. Teresa Casanovas, who introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Isabelle Soerjomataram, Deputy Head, Cancer Surveillance Branch, International Agency for Research on Cancer. Through precise data and charts, Dr. Soerjomataram showed the burden of Liver Cancer in Europe, also making some predictions regarding its incidence in the future.
A statement by Dr. Nicole Seguy, Unit lead HIV, Hepatitis and STI, WHO Europe, wrapped up the meeting. She emphasized how eliminating viral hepatitis is an effective way to prevent liver cancer.
The Summit was just the first event ELPA will dedicate to Liver Cancer in 2021.