Derry-born specialist to lead European fight against cancer

Professor Patrick Johnston has been at the forefront of cancer research for 25 years
Professor Patrick Johnston has been at the forefront of cancer research for 25 years

A world renowned cancer specialist from Derry whose work has transformed cancer care in Northern Ireland is to spearhead efforts to improve survival rates across Europe.

At the forefront of cancer research for the last twenty-five years, Professor Patrick Johnston’s leadership has seen cancer survival rates in Northern Ireland move from the bottom of the UK league table to near the top.

His work over the last two years, alongside some of the world’s leading cancer experts and patient groups, will culminate in today’s launch of a European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights, which will be launched at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and has the support of many MEPs, is the result of two years of work by the European Cancer Concord and Co-Chaired by Professor Johnston.

It aims to address the disparities that currently exist in cancer care from one European country to the next.

Leading the vital initiative, Professor Johnston, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University, Belfast, said: “In Northern Ireland, we have seen the difference that a Comprehensive Cancer Care and Research Programme can have on patient outcomes.

“Previously, Northern Ireland was sitting at the bottom of the UK table for cancer survival rates and, thanks to pioneering work at Queen’s, in association with the Health Service, we’re now close to the top. This Bill of Rights aims to set a standard that all European countries can aspire to, ensuring that all citizens are entitled to the optimum cancer care regardless of where in Europe they live.”