Member Profile: EuropaColon Poland

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Pictured Above: Founder Iga Rawicka
EuropaColon Polska was established in March of 2017 and is an affiliate member of Digestive Cancers Europe. Our goal is to increase awareness of digestive cancers amongst the general public. Previously our work had focused on colorectal cancers, but in seeing a need for raising awareness for other digestive cancers, we have become an advocate for all impacted by digestive cancers.  We are the only patient advocacy group in Poland that focuses on pancreatic cancer.
As an organization, we aim to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer as well as support Polish pancreatic cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and healthcare providers. To do this we provide information and resources on our website about pancreatic cancer and are active participants in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month every year. In 2020, we actively participated in World Pancreatic Cancer Day(WPCD). We emphasized the importance of early detection and the importance of consulting a family practitioner if any symptoms present. We were supported by private, governmental, public, and corporate entities who advertized our educational materials on their websites and social media platforms. We started a new Polish Facebook page “RAK TRZUSTKI”, to help us better connect with pancreatic cancer patients in Poland. This page facilitates communication and resource sharing between our organization and those in need of our resources. Additionally, our ‘Light It Purple’ campaign was very successful, as some of Poland’s most well-known landmarks were lit purple: Slasko-Dabrowski Bridge in WARSAW, Wroclaw Stadium in WROCLAW, Kosciuszki Overpass in GDANSK, as well as the corporate building WAGO in WROCLAW. This is only the beginning of “Light it Purple” in Poland.
Through these projects, we have gained support and interest in WPCD 2021 and we are eagerly awaiting the turn-out. In addition to projects associated with WPCD and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, we have successfully received funding, such as the ImpactPANC grant,  for projects that will further support pancreatic cancer patients in Poland. This initiative aims to improve communication between patients and physicians by hosting a series of workshops at oncology centers across Poland. We are designing a communication guide for medical staff to facilitate more effective communication with pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers. Additionally, we will survey patients to gain a better understanding of their knowledge regarding their cancer diagnosis,  treatment, and inquire about which communication styles they find most effective. In 2021, we will start a campaign titled; “Where is Pancreas?”. As we have realized that a majority of the general population doesn’t know where the pancreas is in our body. This will involve a video that involves a detective who is looking for the pancreas, the detective works closely with an oncologist, who will try to help locate the pancreas and the source of the patient’s symptoms.
To learn more about EuropaColon Poland, visit their website here.