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Colorectal cancer continues to pose a significant challenge, impacting individuals and families profoundly. What sets ONCOSCREEN apart is our unwavering commitment to patient-centred care. With a robust coalition of 38 partners, including hospitals, technical experts, and patient organisations, ONCOSCREEN is making sure that end-users and citizens are actively involved in all phases of research and implementation.

One such partner is Youth Cancer Europe (YCE). YCE is a pan-European, impact-driven patient advocacy network, representing young people aged 18-39 from 40+ European countries. YCE has a track record of shaping EU policies on cross-border healthcare, financial discrimination, fertility preservation, reproductive rights, and, mental health and health equity; and in so doing, influencing legislative changes EU-wide as well as on the local level, across different healthcare systems, with a focus on supporting the needs of marginalised, minority and protected populations.

Colorectal cancer, once largely associated with older age groups, is increasingly becoming a concerning issue among young adults in Europe. This underscores the urgent need for increased awareness, enhanced detection techniques, and targeted early prevention strategies designed for this age group.

A key obstacle in tackling colorectal cancer among young people is the limited awareness regarding the disease and its symptoms within this demographic. Traditional screening methods, such as colonoscopies, are typically recommended for individuals over the age of 50 and may not be considered for younger adults unless they have a family history of colorectal cancer or certain genetic predispositions. As a result, numerous cases of colorectal cancer in young people go unnoticed until symptoms escalate to a severe stage. Symptoms such as rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss may be dismissed or attributed to other less serious conditions, delaying diagnosis and treatment initiation.

With numerous members who have had this lived experience, YCE brings a unique perspective to the table. Their multifaceted contributions range from providing invaluable end-user insights and requirements to actively engaging and participating in dissemination and communication initiatives aimed at enhancing the overall impact of the project. Their expertise in communication and dissemination allows us to amplify the project’s message, ensuring that the latest updates of ONCOSCREEN reach the widest possible audience.

YCE’s contribution includes fostering dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders, researchers, and policymakers with a keen focus on the needs and requirements of end-users. This ensures solutions are not only technologically advanced but also responsive to Europe’s diverse population, including minorities, racial and ethnic subgroups, the LGBTQ+ community, Roma and other travelling communities, neurodiverse individuals, and people with physical and learning disabilities, among others.

YCE is also involved in conducting evidence-based studies and assessments of end-user requirements, which provide crucial insights that steer the project’s direction. Their active involvement is geared towards ensuring that these innovative solutions are embraced and integrated into clinical practice, thereby fostering improved outcomes for both patients and survivors alike.

YCE’s involvement in the ONCOSCREEN project underscores their dedication to cancer prevention and the facilitation of early detection methodologies. To learn more about YCE and the work they do, follow this link to their website: Youth Cancer Europe – Youth Cancer Europe (YCE)