This time last year Professor Mark Lawler was in Strasbourg for the launch of the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights.
But on Wednesday he was in Derry as part of a series of events organised by Derry’s Pink Ladies to mark World Cancer day.
His visit was timely as on Wednesday the shattering statistic that half of the people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime was revealed.
But Professor Lawler’s message was quite simple.
“We need to prevent the unpreventable, detect the undetectable and treat the treatable,” he said.
“But why are the numbers of people who get cancer increasing.
“What we are seeing is an ability for us to live longer and we need to deal with that, we can’t have ageism in dealing with cancer.”
He revealed how every minute three people in Europe die of cancer.
He said it was vital that identity and inequality are addressed at national and European level.
“That led to the European Cancer Patients Bill of Rights,” he said.
“To see if we could challenge cancer inequality and see if that information could be used by patients as an empowerment tool.”
The bill calls for a right to information for every citizen, equal but timely access to care at the right time no matter your social status or where you live and to get this into the health system.”
He said survival rates for cancer in Northern Ireland have increased particularly in relation to breast cancer.
“Northern Ireland now has the best survival rates for cancer in the UK,” he said.
“But need to keep that going and that’s by preventing the preventable, detecting the detectable and treating the treatable.”
For full story on World Cancer Day see this week’s Sunday Journal