Training Courses


SmartStart is a unique, three-day patient advocates’ educational course during which those who are relatively new to cancer patient support and advocacy will have the opportunity to learn knowledge and tools which will provide the solid foundations for them to create and maintain a national not-for-profit advocacy/support organisation in their own country.

This training course provides

  • the right knowledge to set up a national cancer patient advocacy and/or support group in Europe
  • experienced patient group leaders and other knowledgeable trainers who will share their experiences and best practices with the participants
  • a time-tested, balanced mix of practical advocacy and support “tools” for patient advocates.

The Training Course is organised by SPAEN (previously Das Wissenshaus GmbH Institute of Oncology) on behalf of different intl. Cancer Umbrella Organisations such as CML-Advocates, Europa Uomo, ELPA, IBTA, IKCC, MPNE and SPAEN.

The last SmartStart course took place in July 2015 ( pdf Smart start (137 KB) pdf course programme (137 KB) pdf ) (137 KB) and the next one is planned for July 2019.

ESO Masterclass in Patient Advocacy: Working Torwards Stronger and more Effective Advocacy in Europe

The European School of Oncology (ESO) has decided to organise this course because of the limited opportunities available for highly experienced cancer patient advocacy leaders to enhance their understanding of key cancer policy issues and develop their advocacy skills. A small steering committee consisting of advocacy leaders representing a number of European cancer patient organisations developed a programme that we think will be both interesting and of value to participants.

The last ESO Masterclasses took place in June 2014, June 2016 and June 2018 in Milan. The next Masterclass is planned for July 2019.

EORTC “Understanding Cancer Clinical Research”

Patients and their representatives offer a unique perspective of experiential knowledge acquired by dealing with their condition on a daily basis. They can help create more efficient trials, address issues expressed by those living with the condition, and help solve operational issues and ones that affect recruitment and compliance. Considering these elements in the early stages of trial design saves time and money in the long run. Patient organisations can play a key role.

The close cooperation between Patient Organisations, Medical Experts and Industry are one of the key elements of future Cancer Clinical Research. There is a high need for earlier and better patient involvement in clinical research to achieve effective cancer treatments more quickly. Patient involvement in cancer clinical research means research done with or by patients rather than doing research for, to, or about them.

The first two-day-training course ( pdf course programme (2.36 MB) ) took place in February 2014 in Brussels.