Strengthening sustainable cancer prevention in healthcare

European Cancer Nursing Day (ECND21)

On 18 May, cancer nurses throughout Europe celebrated European Cancer Nursing Day (ECND21) and focused on the impact that cancer nurses have on preventing cancer.

From Serbia to Sweden, Ireland to Cyprus and Spain, the UK to Georgia, cancer nurses marked the day in a variety of ways, sharing a range of key messages about cancer prevention.

Introducing this year’s cancer prevention theme, EONS President Johan de Munter said: Cancer nurses are experts in health promotion, at the forefront of the interface between patients and the wider community, and we are uniquely placed to have a major impact on health literacy and health behaviour in this crucial area.
We empower and educate people to reduce their cancer risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle – increasing their physical activity, improving their diet and giving up smoking. We encourage them to access primary screening, seek early detection and advise cancer survivors to take up screening for second malignancies; and, we already lead the drive for vaccination, which can help stop infections that cause some cancers.
As cancer nurses we have the ability to act as leaders in strengthening cancer control within and outside our practice.

Read Johan de Munter’s full article about ECND21 and cancer prevention in Cancerworld magazine, and an article in the European Parliament Magazine by Sara Matthieu MEP hailing ECND21 and calling for cancer nurses to be supported in their prevention work.

Special online ECND21 event

At a special online event hosted by EONS President Johan de Munter in the evening of 18 May, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides paid tribute to cancer nurses’ ‘incredible work, dedication and commitment to better outcomes for patients’ and praised them for ‘working tirelessly to continue treatment’ throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. She told EONS cancer nurses that the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan would ‘support dedicated health professionals like you’. EONS in turn has pledged to collaborate closely to help implement the plan, recognising what a central part cancer nurses must be supported to play in reducing Europe’s cancer burden. Watch the Commissioner’s video address.

Carolina Espina, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) then addressed the meeting to talk about the importance of The European Code Against Cancer and cancer nursing roles in prevention.

This was followed by an introduction to the EONS Prevention Plan by Lena Sharp, EONS Past-President. This significant EONS work project will be unfolded over the next 18 months. (You can download both presentations from the sidebar of this page.)

Finally, the evening was brought to a close with an EONS Quiz on prevention (with the prize of free registration to EONS14 for the winner, Debbie Wyatt. Congratulation Debbie!) and the announcement of the ECND21 competition winners (see below).

EONS Prevention Plan

ECND21 also saw the launch of the EONS Prevention Plan. The EONS Cancer Prevention Plan (ECPP) includes several activities, all with the aim of raising awareness, building capacity, promoting health and addressing health literacy. The goal is that all activities should be evidence-based, reliable and sustainable. These activities include campaigns, education and research aimed at the general public, people affected by cancer and healthcare professionals. EONS events, such as the European Cancer Nursing Day (ENCD), will be incorporated into the Plan, as well as a broader campaign aimed at the general public, undertaken in collaboration with other relevant collaborating partners. The Plan, launched in the May 2021, will continue until December 2023.

ECND Competition

This year’s ECND Competition, with the prize of free registration for the virtual EONS14 conference, invited cancer nurses to be a movie star and make a short video about prevention.

The joint ECND21 competition winners are: Mark Dornan from Northern Ireland and Nieves Gil from Spain. Many congratulations to them both! EONS President Johan de Munter praised their movies for their skill in presenting important cancer prevention messages in a clear and creative way. He thanked all those who entered the competition.

Social media campaign

Cancer nurses across Europe joined in our big social media ECND21 campaign about cancer prevention – using the hashtag #ECND21Go4Prevention. Social media was buzzing with positive posts as cancer nurses shared these important messages and celebrated their special day.

The UK highlighted our role in raising awareness
In Spain, celebrations took place outside in the sunshine!
While in Georgia, nurses marked the day in the wards.
And in Serbia the team showed how it’s done!
While in Sweden, everyone just loved ECND21!

You can also check out these short prevention videos by three EONS members and watch more on the EONS YouTube Channel here