ECO Updates on Ukraine

16 Березня 13:52

ECO Updates on Ukraine

March 2022

We are providing regular updates on the impact of events in Ukraine to cancer patients, including feedback from meetings we are having with the WHO, EU, ASCO and the European Cancer community.

Special Meeting on Ukraine – Thursday 10 March 2022
7 March 2022 – 11:50 CET

Following discussions last week with the WHO, EU Commission and the first meeting of the ASCO-ECO Ukraine Steering Committee last Friday, our Executive Committee have agreed to call a Special Meeting on the impact of the war in Ukraine for all of the European cancer community of our Member Societies, Patient Advocacy Groups, Community 365 and Focused Topic Networks, as well as other organisations we have been connected with since the start of the war.  Thanks to all of you that have been in touch to share information and details or colleagues/organisations in Ukraine and the neighbouring countries during the past week, which are much appreciated. 

This Special Virtual Meeting will be held this week on Thursday 10 March, from 15:30-17:00 CET and will focus on tangible actions that can be taken in collaboration with the WHO, EU and other organisations.  ECO and ASCO are working closely together with oncology professionals and patients in the impacted region to develop a plan that will be discussed during that meeting.  We anticipate that this could include gathering intelligence from the region and signposting national language information for Ukrainian cancer patients and healthcare professionals in the Ukraine, neighbouring countries as well as other countries who wish to support the growing refugee crisis including many cancer patients. We will also be discussing how best to engage with oncologists and patient advocates in other countries, outside of the immediate region, as part of these efforts.  The plan will be presented and discussed during the meeting.

Please forward this information to any of your relevant contacts and networks, as this meeting is intended to be inclusive of the whole European cancer community.  We will be sending an invitation to all the contacts we have kindly received from you over the past week, as well as to other organisations we are collaborating with.

If you would like to attend, please contact By emailing Kamal Abbadi and accepting the invitation to this event, the person agrees to be added to the Secure Area of our website to receive regular updates on the Ukraine war impact and agree to our Privacy Policy.

In our discussions with the WHO and the EU Commission, ASCO and ECO have been very mindful that there is a risk of duplication of efforts during this response and will be co-ordinating closely with their initiatives.  If you are aware of other work that would be helpful including in national languages that we can signpost to, please let us know.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions on how we, as a community, can support cancer patients and healthcare professionals during this crisis, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Update After Today’s WHO Meeting on Ukraine Crisis
3 March 2022 – 16:15 CET

We wanted to update you having just attended a meeting with the World Health Organization’s team that are focused on the Ukraine crisis and its impact on cancer patients.  Many thanks to all of you that have provided invaluable information about what your networks have been experiencing in Ukraine and the neighbouring countries (Romania, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia), as well as the contacts that you have of oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, and patient associations within those countries.  We are also working with WONCA Europe to reach family doctors/GPs working with refugees in the region and connect them with experts.  Please keep this information coming, as we are meeting with WHO tomorrow, 4 March 2022, to agree how we will share that intelligence with the WHO team.  All information should be shared with

During the meeting, we heard from an oncology surgeon working in Lviv and a senior representative of the National Cancer Institute in Ukraine, speaking from Kyiv and clearly the situation within Ukraine is extremely difficult for cancer patients and the workforce, with major problems in terms of access to cancer care, medicines and information about which services are still available.

Tomorrow we will have our first ASCO-ECO Ukraine Response Steering Committee meeting, to consider how we can best support the WHO’s efforts together and provide information and resources to/from our networks and channels to the WHO, EU and medical aid agencies.  We will also be addressing WHO’s request for intelligence gathering from our communities, advocacy to get the best possible support for cancer patients arriving in neighbouring countries and any other technical support.  We will also be discussing how we can bring together the different oncology disciplines, professions and patient groups working in the region.  The Steering Committee is being closely advised on this effort by Richard Sullivan, who is an expert in cancer care in crisis situations and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cancer Policy.

If you have any comments or feedback to be considered by the Steering Committee (which will meet at 17:00 CET tomorrow, 4 March 2022), please share with

In addition, please find here a link to tomorrow’s EU Commission information-sharing webinar on how civil society and health professionals can mobilise to support medical and public health needs of Ukrainian and displaced people.  Our team will be attending the meeting and will continue to provide updates on our website as they are available.

Thank you once again for the great and fast response we have received from the whole European Cancer community to our recent communications on this dreadful situation and please, always feel free to contact us if you have ideas, suggestions or feedback at any stage as this is a fast-moving situation.

Building Capacity and Support for Cancer Patients Arriving in Ukraine’s Bordering Countries
2 March 2022 – 13:50 CET

We are urgently trying to identify organisations who are providing access to cancer treatment to patients in Romania, Moldova, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic.

The goal is to build a network of experts and contacts in those countries, in order to prepare for an influx of cancer patients arriving in their country as refugees.

Please contact if you have any relevant information which could help with these efforts – particularly national organisations or members/experts based in the above mentioned Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, that we can include for the best possible co-ordination by the World Health Organization (WHO) and EU.

European Cancer Community Condemns Violence Against Ukrainian Health Facilities and Urges European Relief Effort for Ukrainians with Cancer
1 March 2022 – 14:15 CET

Responding to the growing crisis in Ukraine, the Executive Committee of the European Cancer Organisation has today issued the following statement:

We are receiving appalling reports of violence against healthcare facilities in Ukraine. This is inexcusable and reprehensible. The UN Security Council has previously – and unanimously – passed resolutions emphasising that attacks on health workers are war crimes. These attacks on Ukrainian health facilities that are causing loss of life and human suffering must end immediately.

During this conflict, it is the firm belief of the European Cancer Organisation that every country in Europe has an ethical duty to facilitate the intake of Ukrainian cancer patients seeking treatment and care. We believe the EU and other inter-governmental bodies should help each country play its part in a coordinated manner. Neighbouring countries should be supported in receiving those in need, including cancer patients and their caregivers.

Andreas Charalambous, President of the European Cancer Organisation, said:

“We are in active conversations with the World Health Organization and European Commission about how the cancer community can provide assistance. The European Union, WHO and medical aid agencies have our full and proactive support, and access to all our networks.

“We are also working with our member societies, patient advocacy organisations and individual experts, to provide further advice and action on mitigating some of the terrible humanitarian impact arising from the crisis.

“Now is a moment to fight division with powerful acts of togetherness. A European relief effort for Ukrainians already suffering from cancer and other serious diseases should be one such act.”

ECO Statement of Support for Ukraine
28 February 2022 – 17:30 CET

Our Executive Committee met today and expressed its deepest concerns about events in Ukraine and the resulting human suffering. We hope that a swift resolution for peace can be found. Our thoughts are with everyone caught up in this crisis, as we assess the challenges it has brought.

Our Member Societies and Patient Advisory Committee are very concerned about the Ukraine crisis. They are closely monitoring the situation within their areas of expertise, as cancer patients and their families caught up in this conflict face many additional devastating challenges.

Please find links to messages from the European Cancer community in the ‘Related Resources’ section. This page will be regularly updated.