Journalists from China, Germany, India and Kenya have been recognised for their outstanding articles on cancer in the 2016 Cancer World Journalism Awards.
The awards, organised by the European School of Oncology’s Cancer World magazine, attracted 145 entries from every corner of the globe. There were winners in four categories, who each receive € 1.500.
Overall winner for 2016
Pia Heinemann from Germany won the Research, Science and Treatment category for her article published inWelt Am Sonntag about the need for gene testing to prevent many cancer patients from having unnecessary chemotherapy. The judges were impressed that she had written about a complex and important subject in such an accessible manner.
They decided she should be the overall winner of the awards, and will be funded to attend the ECCO European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam in January 2017.
Pia said she was excited to receive the award. “The current scientific advances in oncology are impressive. For me, as a journalist, it is very interesting to observe how difficult it can be to bring these advances to the patient.”
Patient and Carer Experience category winner
The winner in the Patient and Carer Experience category was Pauline Kairu for her patient-centred investigation into the state of cancer care in Kenya for the Daily Nation newspaper. “I want to thank the European School of Oncology and the judges for this recognition,” she said. “It comes as such a gratifying affirmation that there’s reward for hard work and focus.”
Policy, Services and Affordability category
The winner in the Policy, Services and Affordability category was Suman Naishadham for her article “Cancer with no pain meds? The tragedy of India’s painkiller shortage”, published on the website The Influence. “Health reporting around the world often takes a backseat to other current events,” she said. “This makes it all the more encouraging to be rewarded for an article on India’s narcotics policy and its effects on the country’s terminally-ill.”
Prevention category winner
The winner in the Prevention category was Duanduan Yuan, a health and environmental journalist for Southern Weekly in China. The judges commended her responsible investigation into the alleged link between baby powder use and ovarian cancer. “I’m both surprised and deeply humbled by the judges’ decision,” she said. “This award not only encouraged me to write better stories, but is also a call for all people to be aware of the importance of cancer prevention.”
The Cancer World Journalism Awards replaces the European School of Oncology’s Best Cancer Reporter Awards, which have been run since 2006. The new award recognises individual works of cancer journalism rather than a journalist’s contribution to cancer journalism, and includes four categories for different article types.
Alberto Costa, Editor of Cancer World and a member of the judging panel, said he was delighted that the new award had attracted so many high quality entries from all over the world, and in so many different media.
“This is an indication of the important role journalists are playing globally in highlighting cancer experience, inequalities and the need for service improvements,” he said. “Cancer World and the European School of Oncology believe it is important to promote and support all they are achieving.”
As well as recognising the four category winners, the judging panel gave a special commendation to a group of entrants who had used funding from the European Fund for Investigative Journalism to carry out an impressive cross-border investigation into why cancer patients in Eastern European countries often cannot afford the newest therapies and the role of the EU in setting the drug prices. These highly commended journalists are: Eric Breitinger (Switzerland), Aleksandra Jolkina (Latvia), Stanimir Vaglenov (Bulgaria), Cristian Niculescu (Romania), David Leloup (Belgium) and Dimitra Triantafillou (Greece).
The judging panel
The judging panel for this year’s Award was made up of: Simon Crompton, Cancer World journalist, UK, Matthew Hill, BBC journalist, UK and winner of the Best Cancer Reporter Award in 2015, Katrin Zöfel, Staff Editor at Swiss Public Radio and runner-up in the 2014 Best Cancer Reporter Award, Dr Alberto Costa, ESO’s CEO and Editor of Cancer World magazine, and Dr Franco Cavalli, Chairman of ESO’s Scientific Committee.