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UPDATE: On Monday, 2 March, the European Parliament took the extraordinary decision to close its doors to all external visitors for at least the next three weeks as COVID-19 sweeps across Europe. Consequently, this event has now been cancelled. We value the importance of the topic we were meant to cover and hope that awareness on the subject can still be raised in the future.

On 18 March 2020, EBC will hold its annual Brain Awareness Week event, “Brain and Cancer: exploring the mysteries of their connection jointly organized between EBC, Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), in the European Parliament in Brussels. The event is kindly hosted by MEPs Petra de Sutter (Greens, BE), Tomislav Sokol (EPP, HR) and Frédérique Ries (Renew, BE).

In this event we would like to address the close relationships between brain and cancer. The general idea behind the topic is that brain research not only has the fundamentals to understand brain cancer but, even more generally, the burdens of cancer, which have immense implications in mental health and neurological aspects.

The brain is not only the site of many different types of tumours, but with its complexity the brain is guiding all our actions including our reactions to distressful situations. The level of distress ranges from being able to adjust to living with cancer to having a serious mental health problem, such as major depression.

In addition, neurological complications caused by systemic cancers—those arising outside the nervous system—can cause signs and symptoms that are more distressing and disabling than the cancer itself and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

We will tackle cancer from a “brain” perspective, by first discussing how fundamental neuroscience research on development and differentiation can be informative for the genesis of brain tumours but also discussing neurological and psychiatric complication of systemic cancer.

Speakers will include:

1.Dr Laura Andreae (FENS-Kavli Scholar)
2. Kathy Oliver (International Brain Tumour Alliance)
3. Prof. Riccardo Soffietti (European Association of Neuro-oncology and Member of the EAN Scientific Panel on Neuro-Oncology)
4.  Prof. Isabelle Merckaert (Psychosomatic and Psycho-Oncology Research Unit, Université Libre de Bruxelles)

The Joint statement on making cancer related complications and comorbidities an EU health priority,  will also be presented by Antonella Cardone, Director of the European Cancer Patient Coalition