Authors: Lydia Makaroff
Lydia Makaroff of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC, Brussels, Belgium) speaks with Oncology Central about the goals and upcoming projects for the ECPC including raising awareness of head and neck cancers and promoting the CanCon recommendations on how to boost equitable access to innovative medicines such as immuno-oncology.
First, could you tell us a little about your background and your current role at the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC)?
I am the Director of the ECPC, with 10 years’ international experience in non-communicable disease research and policy development in academia, the pharmaceutical industry and the non-profit sector. My research interests include the global impact of non-communicable diseases as well as on access, prevalence, cost and complications. Currently, I serve as a Board member of Pancreatic Cancer Europe, and I am also a member of the ECPC Working Group on Bladder Cancer and the ECPC Working Group on Rare Cancers.
Could you tell us about the goals of the ECPC?
The ECPC works for a Europe of equality, where all European cancer patients have timely and affordable access to the best treatment and care available, throughout their life. The ECPC believes that cancer patients are the most important partners in the fight against cancer and against all the cancer-related issues affecting our society. Policy makers, researchers, doctors and industry should recognize cancer patients as co-creators of their own health.
- Empower European cancer patients through the dissemination of fundamental information regarding cancer;
- Foster co-operation among cancer patients’ organizations through joint activities;
- Ensure that state-of-the-art cancer care practices are shared across the European Union (EU);
- Make cancer a priority for action on the European health policy agenda;
- Have an active role in shaping European and national healthcare policies that impact on cancer patients;
- Contribute to change or create EU and national laws to satisfy cancer patients’ needs;
- Call for research on survivorship issues and advocate for better healthcare and social services for them.
What strategies will the ECPC utilize to achieve these goals?
Lydia Makaroff joined the ECPC in September 2016 as Director. She has ten years’ international experience in non-communicable disease research and policy development in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and the non-profit sector. She conducted scientific research during her PhD at the Australian National University and as a senior post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington Medical Center with support from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and the Cancer Council. After working in Global Market Access at a pharmaceutical company, she joined the International Diabetes Federation as their Epidemiology and Public Health Manager. Her team quantified the global impact of diabetes and published research on prevalence, cost, and complications. She monitored national governments’ commitments to non-communicable diseases, provided advocacy tools to national associations, and wrote policy papers on strategies to improve access to medicines and reduce health inequalities. Lydia holds a PhD in immunology from the Australian National University and a Masters’ degree in Public Health from the University of Queensland. She is an Australian-Belgian dual national who speaks English and has a good knowledge of French.