Our story begins in 2004 with EuropaColon, when Jola Gore-Booth, inspired by the success of breast cancer patient groups and by her work as CEO of Colon Cancer Concern (now known as Bowel Cancer UK), thought it was the right time to take what was learned in the UK to the European level.
“Across Europe, there was no patient advocacy organisation working to save lives from colorectal cancer and creating a better future for these patients – This gap needed to be filled, and that’s why, together with Prof. Dr Eric Van Cutsem, we decided to establish a European colorectal cancer community“
Ms Jola Gore-Booth, Founder of EuropaColon.
Starting with the first colorectal cancer patient advocacy group in Portugal, EuropaColon grew into many other European countries, each operating as an affiliate or associate of EuropaColon. The groups established a close relationship and a family-like atmosphere, with a strong sense of loyalty, commitment and camaraderie. This cooperative environment was vital to successfully join efforts to prioritise and raise the profile of colorectal cancer and promote and encourage increased awareness of the symptoms and prevention of the disease.
One of EuropaColon’s significant milestones was the launch of European Colon Cancer Awareness Month (ECCAM) in March 2008 as an annual awareness-raising initiative. Since then, together with our Associate and Affiliate network, we’ve been passionately exploring creative ways to stress the importance of colorectal cancer prevention and early diagnosis every March. Our campaigns have made a remarkable impact, resonating beyond the month and captivating ever-growing audiences.
The success of EuropaColon and the requests from different stakeholders to look at the needs of patients with other digestive cancers brought it to the decision in 2015 to also support pancreatic and stomach cancers. It was also in 2015 that the first Masterclass event was organised in Warsaw, which was translated into an annual event in 2017 taking place in Barcelona in partnership with the ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer (WCGC) to raise awareness of digestive cancers and increase the number of groups embracing these cancers.
Ultimately, in 2018, this led to the expansion into Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE) by Jolanta Gore-Booth, Stefan Gijssels, and Prof. Dr Eric Van Cutsem, continuing the work of supporting patients and raising awareness of all digestive cancers: Colorectal, Gastric and Oesophageal, Liver, Pancreatic and Rare cancers.
This decision was made in recognition that digestive cancers often overlap in symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment and that there was a need for greater coordination and collaboration among patient groups and advocates all over Europe.
Rebranding into DiCE created a stronger and more unified voice for people affected by digestive cancers across Europe. It was a natural progression of the organisation’s mission and focused on promoting awareness, advocacy, and support for patients with digestive cancers.
The new name reflects the organisation’s expanded scope of work and commitment to inclusivity and representation of the entire digestive cancer community. DiCE remains dedicated to decreasing mortality from digestive cancers through prevention and early diagnosis, improving the lives of patients with digestive cancers across Europe, as well as advocating for better care and treatment for all.
Together with our Members and Partners, we have built a thriving and robust platform. We have alliances with physicians and politicians all over Europe.