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World Cancer Day: a day to dream out loud

World Cancer Day: a day to dream out loud

The fight against cancer is the reason we get up every morning. Being the CEO of a non-profit organisation working on cancer research is a rewarding job. As it can be frustrating. Because we want a faster pace of change and hurdles out of the way. We believe science can overcome. But fundamental system changes are needed.

Today I dream out loud. That our organisation would not be limited by resources. That we could fund the clinical trials on the longlist of promising treatments. That non-profit and commercial organisations work side by side and develop the best treatment options for patients to benefit. I dream that, one day, our organisation would no longer be needed.

When looking further than my own organisation, I see a horizon where more can be done. Where more patients can be treated, and less people die. I dream that all people have the same access to high quality cancer treatments, that cancer research would be of the highest level of efficiency.

What if my dream would become reality? What if public health impact could become the centre of cancer care and all players in the cancer research arena would pledge to this mission? From regulators to industry, academia, non-profits and decision-makers to join on the common goal of making a difference on the lives of cancer patients?

The MEPs Against Cancer share my dream. They call for action in their Election Manifesto published today to encourage policy- and decision to address the barriers that prevent timely access to safe and effective treatments for cancer patients.

Actively campaigning on the European level is what it takes to make the dream come true. And therefore, I support the MEPs Against Cancer manifesto and participate to the public debate for better and high qualitative cancer treatments.

Of course, the Anticancer Fund, as all members of the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) that today launches this manifesto, we’d rather spend our resources and time exclusively on research. With the support of our donators, we want to devote more resources to projects that make a difference for cancer patients.

But we also need to raise our voice. What if all scientific discoveries would get clinically implemented and cancer research would focus on unmet medical need, rather than safe return on investment? Using our field expertise in clinical trials and our almost 10 years of participation and observation of the cancer landscape, The Anticancer Fund invests in campaigning for a policy framework where this becomes reality. Our personal manifesto will be published in the following weeks.

World Cancer Day can’t hide the harsh reality that we are not there yet. But World Cancer Day is still a good day. For highlighting the topic, for helping to put the right priorities on the agenda and motivate people to support us in the fight against cancer.

Dreaming out loud one more time: I hope to witness the day we have a World Cancer Day where we celebrate our victory to the disease. And there would be no more need for funding, manifestos or campaigning.

That would be the best day of my life.

Lydie Meheus
Lydie Meheus

Lydie Meheus is the Managing Director of the Anticancer Fund. Lydie holds a PhD in Biochemistry.