Cancer research team wins European Health Award

Health news

Creating a cancer patients' Bill of Rights aimed at driving improvement to treatment has helped a senior Leeds researcher jointly win the 2018 European Health Award.

Professor Peter Selby from the Faculty of Medicine and Health is president of the winning European Cancer Concord, a Europe-wide group including researchers at Queen's University Belfast, which together secured the award. 

It honours initiatives that help tackle some of Europe’s most pressing health challenges.

The award-winning project ‘A Catalyst for Change: The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights' is an empowerment tool for cancer patients across Europe and involves an equal partnership between cancer patients, healthcare professionals and cancer researchers.

One of the key outputs from the research has been the development of a 70:35 Vision, 70% long term survival for all cancer patients across Europe by 2035.

This is a superb example of how cooperative European activities that involve sharing best practice between countries can result in top class prize-winning initiatives.

Professor Peter Selby

Professor Selby is Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Leeds. He said: “Our 70:35 Vision is built upon the pillars of cross border and interdisciplinary cooperation, sharing best practice and ensuring that research and innovation gets translated for the benefit of patients.

“This is a superb example of how cooperative European activities that involve sharing best practice between countries can result in top class prize-winning initiatives.”

Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast and Vice-President of ECC, received the award on behalf of the partnership during the opening ceremony of the European Health Forum Gastein, the primary European health policy conference and an official event of the Austrian European Council presidency.

In a joint statement, Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, and Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, welcomed the award: “The European Health Award is a prestigious award that recognises the very best of European collaborative approach, involving over 60 stakeholders from 25 European countries, working together for the benefit of patients.

"We are immensely proud that an initiative, which was developed and conducted by Queen’s University and the University of Leeds has been recognised across Europe as a quality exemplar of best practice."

ECC group discussionThe European Cancer Concord at a meeting in 2017

Professor Lawler said: “Cancer knows no borders, so it is important that we work together to develop solutions that address cancer inequalities in all parts of Europe. I am immensely proud to be accepting this award, not only on behalf of our team who have worked together over the last five years on this initiative, but also on behalf of the millions of European citizens who are living with and beyond cancer, and experiencing cancer inequalities every single day of their lives.”

Margaret Grayson, cancer survivor and Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum, said: “The news that the European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights has received a top European award is wonderful. This collaborative initiative has patients absolutely at its centre."

Working in close partnership with European patient organisations and professional societies has been a key part of the initiative.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Professor Lawler said: “Cooperation is the key to this initiative. We need to compete, not against each other, but against our common enemy – cancer.”

Further information

For further information, please contact University of Leeds Press Officer Simon Moore on +44(0)113 34 38059 or

The European Cancer Concord (ECC) is an equal partnership between patients and healthcare professionals dedicated to addressing cancer inequalities in Europe. It was supported by the Society for Translational Oncology and the Morrison Endowment in Leeds.