ELPA and DiCE meeting on liver cancer. ‘Together we are EVEN stronger’

ELPA and DiCE meeting on liver cancer. ‘Together we are EVEN stronger’

On October 21, 2020, on the occasion of Liver Cancer Awareness Month, the European Liver Patients’ Association joined forces with Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE) organizing, in the framework of DiCE Masterclass series, the webinar ‘Deep Dive into Liver Cancer’.

This session delved into the intricacies of liver cancer and how best to support people affected by it on their personal journeys. During the first part, all the attendees had the occasion to listen to presentations delivered by three medical doctors.

Dr. Teresa Casanovas Taltavull, a former hepatologist, and leader of ELPA Scientific Committee, sketched the characteristic of liver cancer and stressed the importance of multidisciplinary medical teams to tackle the disease at the best. Dr. Casanovas Taltavull was able to translate extremely complex medical contents into something very clear and useful for the entire liver patients’ community. A quick Q&A session led the participants to the second presentation by Prof. Jeroen Dekervel member of the Digestive Oncology team at the University Hospitals Leuven. His current research focuses mainly on hepatocellular carcinoma. He tries to unravel the reasons for success and failure of the new available systemic (combination) therapies. He presented to the audience new agents in the treatment of liver cancer. After a quick Q&A session, the last presentation was about the role of interventional radiology in the treatment of liver cancer and was delivered by Prof. Thierry de Baere, head of the Interventional Radiology Unit at Gustave Roussy Cancer Centre, and University Paris-Saclay.

After a short coffee break, it was time to listen to a moving testimony from a liver cancer patient. The story of this patient showed all the complexities of the disease in terms of difficulties in treatment, different implications, and relapses. The patient’s testimony was followed by an oncologist who not only described her experience in treating liver cancer patients, but she also outlined how important patients’ associations are in helping patients.

The last hour of the meeting was exclusively dedicated to ELPA and DiCE members. After a short presentation of the two associations by their Presidents, all the members virtually mingled in order to know each other and exchange views on patients’ advocacy. They all agreed on the importance to create collaboration not only at the international level but also at the national one. One good example is Macedonia where both a representative from ELPA and from DiCE are part of the governing board of the National Alliance of Patient Organizations, working together for patients’ wellbeing.

The conclusion of the day can be sum up in a new version of ELPA motto ‘Together we are stronger’. In the light of the fruitful meeting, Marko Korenjak, ELPA President, and Stefan Gijssels, DiCE Chief Executive Officer stressed the fact that ‘Together we are EVEN stronger’.