European Cancer Nursing Day – #ECND2018

18th May 2018

Recognising the Importance of Cancer Nursing


The aim of the European Cancer Nursing Day is to celebrate cancer nursing in Europe. The celebration will stress the importance of the recognition of cancer nursing on a European level, as well as the importance of further education and training, i.e., specialisation in Cancer Nursing.  To this extent, based on available literature (ESNO 2015, CANO 2016), the following definition of Specialist Cancer Nurse will be used: “On an international level, specialist cancer nurses are expected to be educated to a degree level (or higher), have a formal training in cancer, and to care for cancer patients as a specialised population, and this across different cancer types and the entire cancer care continuum”.


European Cancer Nursing Day links with the Recognising European Cancer Nursing (RECaN) project by raising the profile of cancer nurses and calling for their contribution to be better understood and valued. Led by the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) and supported by the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), the project aims to consolidate evidence to clarify and effectively position the contribution of specialised cancer nursing as an essential supportive function during the cancer journey for the benefit of all patients, as well as European health systems.  

Through the RECaN project, ECCO intends to support the following characteristics of contemporary cancer nursing:   

  • Cancer nurses are core members of the multi-disciplinary team 

  • Cancer nursing should be a recognised speciality across Europe based on a mutually agreed educational curriculum 

  • Education for specialist cancer nurses (across all tumour types and phases of care) should be made available  

  • Enhanced free movement of cancer nurses across Europe should be promoted and facilitated to help address rising demand.  ​

We Are Supporting Cancer Nursing Day Because...

Ana Giestas

Cancer Nurse, Portugal

"It is very important to remember the struggles and difficulties of cancer patients and the work of nurses who help these patients. Having a European Cancer Nursing Day is a good way to reflect about this disease and spread awareness.

As long as the maximum life expectancy keeps rising and the incidence of cancer rises too, we will need more skilled nurses to take care of cancer patients, so it is very important to recognise cancer nursing not just in Europe but across the world."

Ian Banks

Chair ECCO patient Advisory committee

"The role of nurses in cancer care, from prevention through to management and survivorship, is pivotal for successful outcomes as desired by cancer patients. A vital member of the Multi-Disciplinary Team, this approach is core to better cancer survival not just in terms of life expectancy but, and perhaps more importantly, quality of life. Cancer nurse specialists, ably represented by EONS, provide a crucial element in the spectrum of care to better address the essential holistic nature of treatment."

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We are encouraging all member organisations to prepare messages which can be shared online and via social media. This message can be recorded in photo format using a meme from the toolkit. Our aim is to share as many of these messages as possible in the build up to and on 18th May 2018.


We are also encouraging our member organisations to contact relevant stakeholders in their country highlighting this celebration. A European-wide press release will be a useful tool to highlight our message to relevant stakeholders such as;

  • Your members

  • Professional nursing organisations

  • Professional organisations for other healthcare professionals

  • Patient associations

  • National health ministries

  • National healthcare systems

  • Faculties of health / Nursing schools


Further suggestions and instructions can be found in the toolkit, which is available to you on the Toolkit web page.


A toolkit will be available to you by April 2018 and will include: 

  • A European press release to issue to relevant stakeholders at National level

  • PDF versions of relevant artwork to be used for photos 

  • Suggested tweets and posts for social media

  • A web banner for your website