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Cancer Journalism Award winners 2019-2020

Outstanding reporting recognised in ESO’s Cancer Journalism Award

Journalists from Germany, Belgium, Kenya and Mexico have been recognised for their outstanding achievement in the 2019-20 Cancer Journalism Award, organised by the European School for Oncology (ESO) in Milan, Italy.

The overall winner was Anne Preger from Germany, whose podcast “Chance in Phase 2” explored a range of research, treatment and emotional issues through the story of a young girl with TRK fusion cancer tumors in her head.

Journalists from 24 countries submitted work produced between May 2018 and December 2019 – print, online, radio, video and television.


There were winners in three categories, who each receive €1500, with the overall winner receiving an additional €500. The judges agreed that the general standard of entries was extremely high. However, there was no winner in the “Prevention” category this year.

Overall winner

Winner of Research, Science and Treatment category

Anne Preger
from Germany won the Research, Science and Treatment category and was judged to have submitted the best entry overall with her episode of the WDR StoryQuarks podcast. It combined reporting on cutting edge cancer science with the human experience involved,taking listeners through the experiences of a girl and her family as she takes part in a phase II research study at a children's cancer centre.

The judges were impressed by the piece’s clear explanation, and the way it demonstrated how science affects treatment in practice from a patient perspective, always acknowledging limitations as well as potential.

You can listen to the episode at:

“The podcast was special for me right from the beginning,” she said. “A family placed a lot of trust in me and allowed me to tell the story of their journey with childhood cancer. During my reporting I felt humbled by the perseverance of Antonia, her parents and the medical team at Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg. As a storytelling science podcast, StoryQuarks offered me a chance to cover both the relevant medical aspects of an innovative tissue agnostic cancer treatment and the emotional implications of Antonia‘s story. To receive the Cancer Journalism Award for this story is a great honour for me and the rest of the StoryQuarks team.“

Patient and Carer Experience category winner

The judges decided there should be two winners in this category.

Elijah Kanyi
’s two-part report on the experiences of low-income families with cancer in Kenya, for the Africa Uncensored YouTube channel, was both moving and eye-opening. The judges admired the way it simply let people tell their stories, but kept the viewer engrossed through its skilful production.

You can view the films at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf9717G_mgM

“I am delighted that the ‘My Cancer Story’ video has won the Cancer Journalism Award 2020. The recognition is an encouragement to continue being the voice of the voiceless. Asanteni Sana – thank you very much, as we say in Swahili.”

Patrice Goldberg
, Editor in Chief of Matière Grise, the science program of RTBF TV channel in Belgium, was joint winner for his report on women’s use of decorative breast tattoos after mastectomy. The judges were impressed with the way that journalists had established trust with their subjects and revealed inspiring stories.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this award from such an important organisation,” he said. “It pays tribute to the patients who agreed to share part of their intimacy in order to transmit a message of hope. For many women affected by breast cancer, mastectomy is experienced as an amputation of their femininity. Therefore, the process of getting a tattoo after the disease is not trivial. The tattoo gives the woman back the power to be again the actress of her life. I dedicate this award to the exceptional women and carers I had the chance to meet.”  

Policy, Services and Affordability category winner

Myriam Vidal Valero, Rodrigo Pérez
and Nelly Toche won this category for their report “I Didn’t Smoke: the stigma faced by lung cancer patients in Mexico” for the New York Times. The reporters shed light on the experiences of a large and marginalised group of patients and asked important questions about existing public health policies.

You can view the article at:

"We're extremely honoured to receive this award,” said Myriam Vidal Valero. “This proves that collaborative journalism can create a bigger impact in the world. We'd like to thank our editors who helped us find the best reporters within ourselves, to the doctors and experts we spoke to, and a special thanks to the patients who let us into their lives and struggles.”

Other shortlisted journalists were:

Ilana Yurkiewicz (USA)
Behind the Scenes of a Radical New Cancer Cure (Undark.org)
Victoria Forster (Canada)
Why The Obsession With A Universal Cure For Cancer May Be Harming Research And Patients (Forbes Health)
Levels Of Some Cancer-Causing Chemicals In Nail Salons Higher Than In Auto Garages Says New Study (Forbes Health)
Omolabake Fasogbon (Nigeria)
Cervical Cancer: How Government Gambles with Women's Rights to Reproductive Health (ThisDay Newspapers)
Veronica Hackethal (United States)
Heartbreaking News, Then Tumor Find Leads to Genetic Testing (Medscape)
Should All Breast Cancer Patients Undergo Genetic Testing? (Medscape)
Oscar Miyamoto (Estonia)
Mind and spirit are essential to fight breast cancer (losintangibles.com)
Kat Arney (UK)
The DNA detectives hunting the causes of cancer (Mosaic)

The judging panel

The judging panel for this year’s Award was: Adriana Albini, Editor in Chief of Cancer World magazine; Alberto Costa, ESO’s CEO; Simon Crompton, writer and scientific journalist; Swagata Yadavar, New Delhi health journalist and winner of the 2018 award; Katrin Zöfel, science reporter for Swiss radio and runner-up in the 2014 Award.

More information

Please contact Corinne Hall chall@eso.net