First prize in prestigious cancer journalism award shared by British and American journalists Print
Milan, Italy – 22 July, 2013 – Tiffany O’Callaghan, Opinion Editor with the UK’s New Scientist magazine and US-based Joanne Silberner, a freelance multimedia reporter, are the joint winners of the European School of Oncology’s (ESO) Best Cancer Reporter Award for 2013. The Award, established by ESO in 2006, aims to encourage high-quality media coverage on cancer and to recognise journalists who have a commitment to enlightening the public about important issues surrounding the disease.

O’Callaghan’s work highlighted the uncertainty often involved in making treatment decisions in cancer, and the challenges this poses for doctors committed to acting in the best interests of their patients. Silberner was recognised for her six-part series for the BBC/PRI/WGBH radio programme The World, which focused on the growing crisis of cancer in developing countries and highlighted the neglect that surrounds this issue and the need for urgent action.

The winners of the 2013 Best Cancer Reporter Award will each receive a prize of €5000, and an example of their work will be reprinted in ESO’s magazine Cancer World.

On hearing that she had won the Award, Tiffany O’Callaghan said: I am thrilled and honoured to have been selected for this award. New Scientist has a strong tradition of reporting on evidence based medicine, and at times that means portraying nuance and uncertainty, which patients given very early stage cancer diagnoses such as DCIS often face.”

Responding to news about the Award, Joanne Silberner said: “I am deeply honored to have won this award, and to have been able to help call attention to the plight of people with cancer worldwide. I thank the patients, families and health professionals in Uganda, India and Haiti who shared their stories. And I'm grateful to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for recognizing cancer as a true global crisis, and to the radio program "The World" and my wonderful editor David Baron for support.”

The runners-up prize was also shared between German freelancers Christiane Hawranek and Marco Maurer and Spanish journalist Ainhoa Iriberri, who writes for Revista Salud. They will share a prize of €5000 and have an example of their work published in Cancer World magazine.

Christiane Hawranek and Marco Maurer spent three months investigating a story, published in Die Zeit, about “patient traffickers” – German agencies or individuals that exploit patients’ and families’ desperation and charge extortionate fees to find places for foreign patients in German clinics. They said: “This prize encourages us to go on, to keep on digging, and it reminds us never to give up – even when investigations seem to be impossible at some point. It is worth the effort, although this is not always easy as a freelance journalist. We hope that our reports make a difference for the foreign patients. We would like to thank the European School of Oncology for this prize and are grateful for the support and contributions to our work we got from Die Zeit and the Bayerischer Rundfunk”.

Ainhoa Iriberri tackled the sensitive issue of cancer in pregnant women – a topic rarely covered by the media, but important because of public misconceptions about the issue. She commented: “I'm so happy for receiving this award and grateful to ESO. These kinds of prizes encourage good journalism in such an important matter as cancer.”

The judges also recognised the work of Ugandan journalist Esther Nakkazi and Zimbabwe-based journalist Busani Bafana. These two journalists highlighted the struggle faced in addressing cancer in low-income countries and the role of the media in spotlighting specific problems. In a piece titled Morphine kills pain, but the price kills patients, Bafana, who writes for the Inter Press Service News Agency, chose to focus on how the healthcare system fails cancer patients in desperate need of pain relief. Nakkazi, a freelance science journalist, who reports for a number of regional African news outlets and the Science for Development Network, wrote about an innovative way to communicate health information to very poor communities. Bafana and Nakkazi will receive Special Merit Award certificates and an example of their work will be published in Cancer World magazine.

Details about how to nominate someone for the 2014 Best Cancer Reporter Award will be available soon on the European School of Oncology’s Cancer Media Service Website.

About the award: The Best Cancer Reporter Award is an original initiative of the European School of Oncology (ESO) and is funded by private donors. Established in 2006, the Award was created to honour and reward excellence in cancer journalism. The Best Cancer Reporter Award 2013 judging panel included Bernhard Albrecht (journalist at the weekly magazine Stern, Germany), Simon Crompton (freelance journalist, UK), Fabio Turone (president of the Association of Science Writers, Italy), Sławomir Zagórski, (Head of Science Section, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland) and Kathy Redmond (Editor, Cancer World, Switzerland). The Award is open to journalists who write for newspapers, magazines or websites targeted at the general public.

About the European School of Oncology (ESO): Milan-based ESO is an independent, non-profit organisation that is dedicated to improving the care and treatment that cancer patients receive. The School was founded in 1982 with the aim of reducing deaths from cancer due to late diagnosis and inadequate treatment. Over the past three decades the School has grown into one of the most important providers of cancer education for physicians, nurses, patient advocates and the media worldwide. Further information about the School is available from

For further information please contact:
Corinne Hall
European School of Oncology
Phone: +39 02 85 46 45 22
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