Myelom-Gruppe Rhein-Main

Last modified: 12 January 2013

What is advocacy?

Advocacy can be defined as "pursuit of influencing outcomes - including public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions - that directly affect people's lives" (Advocacy Institute). The cancer advocacy movement started in the 1980s in the United States but even before then there were people touched by cancer who advocated their cause by actively supporting important policies, ideas or initiatives.

Advocacy has become one of the main driving forces behind the increasing role that cancer patients are playing in many aspects of cancer research, treatment and care. At the European level, for example, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading professional organization of cancer physicians in Europe, has started inviting cancer patients to their international meetings, and the Federation of European Cancer Societies (FECS) is following this example. The European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA), the decentralised EU health protection and promotion agency, and the EU Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products (CPMP) have taken steps to increase the involvement of cancer patients in the drug regulation process in Europe and to help patients get timely access to new cancer drugs.