European Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (ECCAM 2024) Online Launch Event

Online Event, Feb 29, 2024, 10:00 am

#ECCAM2024 ‘Step by Step’

Thank you for joining us in the discussion on the importance of Advancing the Prevention and Understanding of Colorectal Cancer in Younger Patients to Save More Lives on 29 February 2024 from 10 am to 12 noon (CET).

Since 2008, Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE) has been leading the European Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (ECCAM) campaign every March to raise awareness of CRC. This year, as we continue our mission to promote a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, such as walking, we will explore the unique challenges and risk factors associated with colorectal cancer in this demographic, emphasising the importance of early detection and timely intervention.


Zorana Maravic

Zorana Maravic
Digestive Cancers Europe CEO, Belgium

A part of Europacolon and now DiCE since 2012, Zorana has always worked closely with our Full Members and Associate Members. With grace, poise and calm, she is working to help Members’ organisations and DiCE grow.

As CEO, Zorana continues her commitment to DiCE taking on the management of the organisation and ensuring the delivery of its missions and goals. In her past role as Director of Operations she was responsible for the co-ordination and support of Member groups, as well as strengthening the network, through establishing relationships with new organisations. During this she has proven her capacity to deliver successfully. Key projects have included:

  • A Survey on the Unmet Needs of Patients Living with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC). She recruited more than 800 patients and had the results under her authorship published widely
  • DiCE events: Masterclass events – an educational annual meeting for Member groups
  • Awareness campaigns including European Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaigns (ECCAM)
  • Pharmaceutical industry and independent consortia projects
  • Developing patient support materials with the Patient Advisory Committee (PAC)

Zorana also acts as a public speaker on topics such as patient support, biosimilars and CRC screening. From 2016 until 2018, Zorana served as a Board Member of EuropaColon.

Before working in the Not-For-Profit sector, Zorana worked for 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry, primarily in sales and marketing of innovative oncology drugs as well as on oncology clinical trials.

She holds a degree in molecular biology from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. In 2017, at the University of Sheffield, UK she gained an Executive MBA in Health Management.

Lieve Wierinck

Lieve Wierinck
Digestive Cancers Europe Chair of the Board, Belgium

Along with being a pharmacist and a former cancer patient, Lieve’s career in politics means she applies her medical, patient and policy expertise to her work as Chair of the DiCE Board.

Lieve Wierinck was a Member of the European Parliament (ALDE – Liberal Democrats) until 2019. She was a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). In that capacity, she strove to improve the innovation and competitiveness of Europe.

She was also a member of the informal groups “MEPs Against Cancer” (MAC), and the MEP Interest Group on the Patient Access Partnership (PACT). Earlier this year, Lieve Wierinck received the Parliament Magazine Award for the Best Health MEP.

Lieve was a member of the Belgian Parliament from 2011 to 2014. She was Chair of the National Women’s Group of the Flemish liberal party (Open VLD) from 2014 till 2017. She was a member of the Municipal Council of Zaventem from 1994 to 2018, and also the Chair of the Local Public Welfare Office (OCMW) for twelve years.

She also worked as a pharmacist for 30 years in Zaventem. She is a colon cancer survivor.

Andi Carlan

Andi Cârlan
Digestive Cancers Europe Patient Advisory Committee, Romania

Andi Cârlan is a 39-year-old Romanian, husband, and father of two wonderful girls. He has been working in the pensions and life insurance industry for over 14 years and has built his career in employee benefits, corporate sales, financial advising, training and consultancy. He’s an active volunteer, civic activist, #bloodfluencer, donor and occasional fundraiser, involved in civic social movements, blood donations, social cases and in 2022 in the Ukrainian refugees’ crisis in Romania.

In May 2019 at 36 he received the diagnosis of having Stage III Colon Cancer, which was treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Two years later, in July 2021, it came back in the form of a liver metastasis that was surgically removed in September. Unfortunately, in February 2023 he has just found out that the cancer is back again, in his liver, and he will continue fighting it.

Since 2020, he has been advocating for cancer patients in Romania, helping them to cope with cancer and to understand about disease and their treatment options. He also works to share positive ways of dealing with the new life that cancer brings.

He also writes a blog (in Romanian) that documents his journey with cancer and other social, medical and educational themes.
By advising DiCE through the Patient Advisory Committee, he is looking to spread the word further and help others on a European level.

Deirdre Clune

Deirdre Clune
Member of the European Parliament, Ireland

Deirdre Clune is a Member of the European Parliament for the constituency of Ireland South, having been elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2019. She is a full member of the Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection and a substitute member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

Deirdre graduated from University College Cork in 1980, with a B.E. in Civil Engineering. She completed a diploma in Management Engineering with Trinity College Dublin in 1983. She returned to UCC in 1996 to complete her HDip in Environmental Engineering. Deirdre went on to work with some of the leading engineering firms both here at home and overseas, including Delap & Waller, Roughton & Partners and Arup.

Deirdre is a former member of the Dail Eireann (1997-2002, 2007-2011) and Seanad Eireann (2011-2014). She was elected Lord Mayor of Cork City in 2005, in which time the City was designated as the European Capital of Culture.

During her time in Leinster House, Deirdre was Deputy Spokesperson on Enterprise with the Special Responsibility for Innovation. She was also the Fine Gael spokesperson on Environmental Information and Protection, and Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands.

Deirdre’s father, Peter Barry, was a Dáil Deputy for Cork constituencies between 1969 and 1997 and served as Tánaiste in 1987, Deputy Leader of Fine Gael between 1979 and 1987 and from 1989 to 1993. He was also a Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Environment, Transport & Power and Education.

Her Grandfather, Anthony Barry was a Dáil Deputy in the 1950’s and early 1960s.

Deirdre became the third of her family to hold the mayoralty in Cork, following in the footsteps of her father, Peter who was Lord Mayor of Cork in 1970/71 and her late grandfather, Anthony who was Lord Mayor in 1960/61.

Romana Jerković

Romana Jerković
Member of the European Parliament, Croatia

Romana Jerković is a Croatian politician of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, who has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament for the Croatian nationwide constituency since February 2020.

Today, she is a full-time university professor and head of the Department of Anatomy at the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka. In parliament, she has since been serving on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Special Committee on Cancer (BECA).

In addition to her committee assignments, she is part of the parliament’s delegation to the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee.

MEP Jerkovic is a long standing public health advocate in the European Parliament, passionate about social justice, sustainability, and equality as well as the regulations of industries and the environment.

Marianna Vitaloni
Digestive Cancers Europe, Medical /Scientific Project Manager

Marianna is a patient advocate and, at DiCE, co-ordinates medical and scientific initiatives using her multidisciplinary experience to build the bridge between science and global health.

She has been passionate about human health and wellbeing from the beginning of her professional career. She laureated in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Pavia (Italy) where she also obtained her PhD in Genetic and Human Pathology as a result of international collaborations with American and Spanish institutions. As a biomedical researcher, her practice focused on regenerative medicine, stem cells and disease therapies.

During her research studies, a strong interest in public and global health drove her career towards international initiatives and projects aiming at improving human health. She graduated in public health and collaborated in the WHO Genomics and Global health initiative. Then she joined the Osteoarthritis Foundation International where she directed projects aiming at improving the quality of life of patients, promoting healthy lifestyle habits and developing new therapies and treatments. She also led the Osteoarthritis Patients Task Force, an international alliance of patients’ organisations.

Manon Spaander

Manon Spaander
Professor of Gastrointestinal Oncology, screening & early diagnosis, Erasmus University, The Netherlands

Prof.dr Manon Spaander is a professor in early detection and screening of premalignant gastrointestinal diseases at the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her clinical and research focus on prevention and early detection of gastrointestinal cancers.

She contributed to the set-up of the Dutch bowel screening program and is still involved as national advisor for quality assurance of colonoscopy performance within the Dutch bowel screening program. She published many articles on colorectal cancer screening and was the first author of the review on ‘Young-onset colorectal cancer’ published in Nature Reviews last years.

Liliana Mackowiak

Liliana Mackowiak

I was in my prime, top of my career, thinking that world is just happening for me… and just like that I was diagnosed with stage 4 aggressive bowel cancer at age of 37.
I knew about disease, we all know it exists but we think we are invincible until we aren’t.

After major surgery and 6 months of intense chemotherapy treatment about 1 year ago I’ve been told I’m NED ( no evidence of disease) and I’m hoping that still is the case. I’m still receiving treatment every 2 weeks because I’m on it for life, managing side effects is not always easy but I try my best to still live “normal” .

What I think of cancer … it’s disease like any other just with higher mortality statistics, and talking statistics , very often the moment we hear big “C” word we think this is the end of the story for us but is it really? I do believe each patient should be able to understand what is exactly happening to them, they should be bold and brave to ask questions, demand answers, explore all available information. Educate themselves and never leave stone unturned . Be prepared, be responsible for their choices and understand they have them! Always!

I’m still learning about my disease, I’m still learning about myself but I truly believe that by channeling your knowledge, focus and energy into right field we can help ourselves.

Callum Fraser

Callum Fraser
Population Health and Genomics, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland

Callum G Fraser is currently Senior Research Fellow and Honorary Professor in the School of Medicine, University of Dundee.

He graduated BSc and PhD in the University of Aberdeen. Following post-doctoral work with the National Research Council of Canada, he has worked in laboratory medicine in tertiary care teaching hospitals in Scotland (Aberdeen and Dundee) and Australia (Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide) for over 50 years.

He has published over 400 papers and articles, 14 book chapters, and two monographs, both translated into Spanish, and the second also into Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Turkish. Over the last 25 years, he has been involved in the setting up of the UK Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot, the development and roll-out of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, and the assessment and application of newer faecal tests.

He is a founding Member of the Expert Working Group on Faecal Immunochemical Tests for Screening of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee, World Endoscopy Organization. He has been honoured by, inter alia, the Foundation Award and Honorary Membership of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine and the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine 2017 award for his achievements.

Katell Maguet
eo-CRC patient, France

Katell Maguet is a French researcher based in the Netherlands. She is a scientist at heart, passionate about working with data and innovative approaches. Over the years, her focus has shifted from numbers to understanding and enhancing people’s experiences.

In 2021, at the age of 40, she was diagnosed with a Stage 3 colorectal cancer. Through three years of treatment, her quality of life was profoundly affected. Along her patient journey, she faced various challenges, including the low awareness of early-onset colorectal cancer, the complexity of navigating the healthcare system and the difficulty of obtaining timely information.

She chose to become a patient advocate, to give a voice to patients and to raise awareness about early-onset colorectal cancer among both patients and medical teams. By blending her multidisciplinary background with her personal experience as a patient, she aspires to make a significant impact on the cancer patient’s journey.

Currently a EUPATI student, Katell collaborates with several cancer patients organizations.

Jose Perea

Jose Perea
Principal Investigator at
Institute of Biomedical Research of
Salamanca, Spain

Dr. José Perea García is a Principal Investigator at the Biomedical Research Institute of Salamanca (IBSAL) and the Comprehensive Cancer Research Center in Salamanca, and also Chief Department of Surgery at Vithas Arturo Soria Hospital, and Associate Professor of Surgery, at the European University of Madrid, Spain.

He served a surgeon in the Coloproctology Unit at the 12 de Octubre University Hospital for 10 years. Until recently, he has been an Assistant Surgeon at the Jiménez Díaz Foundation University Hospital, as well as PI at the Research Institute in the same institution. He is Assistant Professor of Surgery, at the Medicine College of the Complutense University, in Madrid.

His research lines cover different aspects of colorectal cancer (CRC), especially early-onset CRC (EOCRC), multiple primary CRC, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease associated CRC. He is conducting a collaborative platform between different centers of Spain (multicenter EOCRC prospective cohort) and Europe, in association with other countries worldwide (USA, Latam, Australia), focused on EOCRC, the worldwide network GEOCODE. He is also director of the Early-onset colorectal cancer International Symposium, hosted annually in Madrid, in association with the Fight Colorectal Cancer Foundation, from the USA.

He also been appointed to the organizing committee of the Early Age of Onset CRC Summit, as well as a member of the medical advisory committee of the Colon Cancer Foundation, and Fight Colorectal Cancer Foundation. He is also a member of the Meeting Planning Committee of the Collaborative Group of the Americas for Inherited Gastrointestinal Cancers.

Ruel Jacob

Ruel Jacob
Digestive Cancers Europe Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Ruel contributes to DiCE’s events, promotion and internal/external communications to build connections, increase public awareness and ultimately bring value to a more significant number of digestive cancer patients in Europe.

Ruel is an experienced communication practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in several European associations in Brussels. Skilled in communication management, social media strategy and customer satisfaction, Ruel is a marketing professional with a Master of Science in Communication Studies focused on New Media and Society in Europe from Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

His enthusiasm for digital media and communications motivates him to excel while building relationships, organising projects and inspiring optimism.

12.00 – END

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