Day 1 / 18.03.2022

Congress Opening




Opening. Moderator: Ivars Ijabs, Latvian MEP and representative of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) of the European Parliament.


Opening speech. Olga Valciņa, founder of the Latvian Association of Oncology Patient Organizations “OncoAlliance”. The purpose of the Congress. Overview of the situation, access to cancer care in the EU Eastern and Central European countries.


Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. Video address: The EU’s objectives and strategy for beating cancer and ensuring equal care for oncology patients.


Video address: Andra Levite, First Lady of the Republic of Latvia


Daniels Pavļuts, Health minister of Latvia.


Nicolae Ștefănuță, coordinator of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) of the European Parliament.


Dr Bettina Ryll, a patient advocate and founder of the Melanoma Patient Network Europe, former EU Cancer Mission Board member. Main aspects of inequalities in cancer care and their consequences.

Plenary Session 1. Inequalities: patient and HCP perspective

Topic: Ways of implementing the principle of equality by synchronising EU cancer care standards at national level. Common principles of the inclusion of innovative medical technologies in reimbursed health services for oncology patients in the EU countries.

Moderator: Mārtiņš Daugulis, social anthropologist, lecturer at Riga Stradins University



Speaker 1 – Kathy Oliver, the Chair and Co-Director of the International Brain Tumour Alliance and the Co-Chair of the Patient Advisory Committee of the European Cancer Organisation. The European Code of Cancer Practice.


Speaker 2 – Prof. Sonata Jarmalaite, Deputy Director for Research and Development in National Cancer institute, Vilnius (Lithuania). Inequalities in access to personalized cancer care in Europe.


Speaker 3 – Dita Dzērviniece, Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal Latvia. Patient rights in the EU – main provisions of EU patient rights that are mostly breached by unequal cancer care.



Participant 1: Menia Koukougianni, founder – CEO of Karkinaki, Greece. Disparities of paediatric cancer care in the EU in respect to access to childhood cancer services.

Participant 2: Viktors Kozirovskis, medical oncologist, Latvian Society for Medical Oncology (LaSMO) board Deputy Chairman. Experience of Latvia in tackling inequalities in cancer care.

Participant 3: Kristiina Ojamaa, oncologist, Head of Hematology-Oncology Clinic of Tartu University Hospital. Experience of Estonia in tackling inequalities in cancer care.

Participant 4: Dr Piotr Rutkowski, Professor of Surgical Oncology at the Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology in Warsaw, Poland.



Live programme for online viewers:

Moderator: Mārtiņš Daugulis, Social anthropologist, lecturer at Riga Stradins University

Video content

Jacek Maciejewski, Board Member of the Rakn’ Roll organization, Poland

Plenary Session 2. Inequalities: political perspective

Topic: The European Beating Cancer Plan and its funding should facilitate the principle of equality in cancer care in every EU country.

Equal access to cancer care – diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation, palliative care – in the Eastern and Central European countries of the EU:
1. equal access to medication, including personalized (aka precision) therapy,
2. equality in access to diagnostics, treatment and cutting-edge treatment technologies,
3. opportunities for national oncology patients of remote cross-border care.

Moderator: Ivars Ijabs, Latvian MEP and representative of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) of the European Parliament.



Speaker 1 -Nicolae Ștefănuță, coordinator of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) of the European Parliament. What instruments are needed to implement the resolution and lessen inequalities in all cancer care spectrum among the EEU and CEU countries.


Speaker 2 Mārcis Leja, Professor, Director of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia, former EU Cancer Mission Board member.Tools how to implement EU Cancer Mission’s recommendations at national levels.


Speaker 3 – Partha Basu, Deputy Head of Early Detection, Prevention & Infection Branch of International Agency for Research (IARC) on Cancer about DG REFORM project.



Participant 1 – John Ryan, Director of Public Health Country Knowledge and Crisis Management, DG SANTE. The EU Beating Cancer Plan and its focus on inequalities.

Participant 2 –Daniels Pavļuts, Minister of Health of Latvia.

Participant 3Inga Cechanovičienė, Head of Specialised Health Care Division, Personal Health Department of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania.

Participant 4Tanel Kiik, Minister of Health and Labour of Estonia.

Participant 5 – Uldis Mitenbergs, Head of the World Health Organisation Latvia Country Office. Value Based Healthcare. Econometrics of Cancer.


Lunch Break / Press conference

Plenary Session 3. The role of patient advocacy in reducing cancer care inequalities


The role and opportunities of patient organizations in ensuring the implementation of EP Resolution “On strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy”.

Moderator: Martiņš Daugulis, social anthropologist, lecturer at Riga Stradins University



Speaker 1 – Dr. Marius Geantă, President and Co-founder of the Center for Innovation in Medicine, Romania. The role of civil society in the fight against cancer.


Speaker 2 – Dr. Stanimir Hasurdjiev, Secretary-General of the Patient Access Partnership, Managing Director of the Bulgarian National Patients` Organization. The uniqueness of the patients’ expertise and the patient organization of the future.


Speaker 3 – Toivo Tänavsuu, Hille Tänavsuu Cancer Treatment Foundation/Vähiravifond Kingitud Elu (Estonia). The Estonian experience of how they have in 7 years practically eliminated the modern cancer care inaccessibility problem by mobilising the society through private donations.



Participant 1Kristina Modic, Executive Director at Slovenian Lymphoma and Leukemia Patient association, member of the Board of Myeloma Patients Europe, Vice President of Patients council at Oncology Institute of Ljubljana, President of ONKO NET Association of Slovenian Cancer Patient Organizations, received European Citizen’s Prize 2021.

Participant 2 Fausta Šimonėlytė, the legal adviser of Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA).

Participant 3 – Zinta Uskale, Founder and Board Member of NGO “Pink Train Foundation”, Latvia and Board Member of Latvian Association of Oncology Patient Organisations “OncoAlliance”.

Participant 4 – Jacek Maciejewski, the board member of the Rakn’ Roll organization.



Live programme for online viewers:

Video content

Moderator: Mārtiņš Daugulis, Social anthropologist, lecturer at Riga Stradins University, Latvia

Gunta Purkalne, Oncologist-chemotherapist at P. Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital, professor of Riga Stradiņš University, Latvia

Rolands Lappuķe, Smart Technology Adviser to the President of Latvia

Plenary Session 4. The perspective of innovative and personalized treatment in cancer care

Topic: Common quality standards of cancer care in the EU. The need for a unified approach to cancer care, based on the guidelines and standards developed by professional organizations. Upcoming and most promising cancer treatment innovations.

Harijs Gals, Board Member of Lung Cancer Patients and Relatives Association



Speaker 1Prof. Giuseppe Curigliano, Chair of the ESMO Guidelines Committee. Importance of ESMO Guidelines in implementing the common cancer care standards and innovations all around the EU.


Speaker 2 – Jin Young Park, Scientist in the Early Detection, Prevention and Infections Branch at IARC. Recent progress in gastric cancer prevention and GISTAR study.


Speaker 3 – Prof. Alinta Hegmane, medical oncologist, Latvia. Spectrum of challenges of HCP in terms of adapting to the complex and rapidly changing cancer treatment paradigms and with respect to doctor – patient communication.


Speaker 4 – Francisco Rocha Gonçalves, a professional economist and invited professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Porto University. The benefits of molecular cancer council and the importance of VBHC approach in cancer care.

Closing notes. Signing of the Open Letter


Helmuts Bēķis,
 Head of Latvian Association of Oncology Patient Organizations “OncoAlliance”

Content of the Open Letter – video presentation

Patients, patient advocates, NGO’s, healthcare professionals and everyone motivated in reducing cancer inequalities in the EU are welcome to sign the Open Letter afterwards to be passed to the European Parliament, the European Commission and the national governments of the EU countries.

Closing note.


Dinner buffet for attendees at the premises of the Congress.

Day 2 / 19.03.2022

Patient organisations - closed session


Internal agenda of patient NGO’s.


Internal agenda of patient NGO’s.


Closing note