2020 – 02-04
Every year, 3.5 million persons are diagnosed with cancer in the European Union. It is a serious health issue that will directly affect 40% of EU citizens with important impacts on the European health systems and economies. However, with up to 40% of cancer cases being attributed to preventable causes, the scope for action and potential to reduce the number of cases in the EU is immense. As announced by President von der Leyen in her Political Guidelines and set out in the mission letter of Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, the Commission will present a European plan to reduce the suffering caused by the disease and support Member States to improve cancer control and care.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: Everyone has a friend, a colleague or a relative who’s gone through this. Everyone has experienced the same sense of sadness and helplessness. But there is something we can do individually and collectively. At Member State’s level and through our European Union. Of course, we do not start from scratch. But there is much more we can do than we are currently doing. Today, on World Cancer Day, we begin a common path that will lead to Europe’s Beating Cancer Action Plan. Together we can make a difference: with prevention and research, with a new data strategy and equality in treatment across Europe.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said: Cancer concerns us all, in one way or another. Promoting our European Way of Life is also about values, dignity and synergies; that is what any policy on cancer should build on. The Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is a new major effort to make this happen, by opening a new era in cancer prevention and care. Together, let’s shape a patient-centred Beating Cancer Plan that brings hope and life opportunities to all patients, their families and their friends in Europe. We can win this battle!
Stella Kyriakides,Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: Cancer is an area where EU citizens expect us to take decisive actions. A Europe that strives for more is a Europe that listens to its citizens, that cares for their wellbeing. This is what Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is about – making a difference for Europe’s citizens, patients and health systems. The success of the Plan will depend on the full engagement of citizens, cancer patients, stakeholders and actors at European, national and local levels. I invite everyone to participate and make this plan as ambitious and efficient as possible. Together we can make a difference.
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, which will be presented before the end of this year, will propose actions at every key stage of the disease:
Prevention measures: Prevention is the easiest and most effective way of reducing cancer in the EU. Measures on prevention could include improved access to healthy diets and vaccination coverage; measures to reduce environmental risk factors such as pollution and exposure to chemicals; research and awareness raising.
Early detection and diagnosis: Measures to improve the chance of a better health outcome through early diagnosis could include increasing the coverage of the target population for cancer screening; increased use of digital solutions and technical support to Member States.
Treatment and care: Measures to improving outcomes of cancer care and treatment could include improving the access to high-quality treatment and uptake of new therapies; measures to ensure the availability and affordability of essential medicines; innovation and research.
Quality of life: Measures to ensure the best possible quality of life for cancer patients, survivors and carers could include measures to improve professional re-integration; prevent discrimination; the provision of palliative care and transfers of best practice.
The Commission is today launching the public consultation at the “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: Let’s strive for more” event in the European Parliament. Opened by the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the event brings together citizens, cancer patients and survivors to share their personal testimonials, as well as a wide range of stakeholders, from political leaders to health professionals and NGO’s.
The aim of the public consultation is to allow EU citizens and stakeholders to contribute and voice their opinion on the best ways to address this issue in the EU. The results of the consultation will feed into the outline of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and help identify the areas and the scope of future action. The consultation will run for twelve weeks. In addition to the public consultation, the Commission is also today launching a consultation on the Roadmap for the Plan, running for four weeks.
Until July, specific elements of the Plan will be discussed with Member States as well as targeted consultations with stakeholders. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will be presented before the end of this year.
Tackling cancer is of fundamental importance for Europe’s future. A new case of cancer is diagnosed in the EU every 9 seconds. Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality after cardiovascular disease. In addition, cancer incidence places a massive burden on health and social systems, puts pressure on governmental budgets and negatively impacts the productivity and growth of the economy, including the health of the EU workforce. It is a complex disease caused by a combination of multiple factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental or lifestyle influences and infectious agents. By 2035, cancer cases could double and without further action, it could become the leading cause of death in the European Union. However, 40% of all cancer cases can be prevented if the recommendations to reduce the risk as specified in the European Code Against Cancer are implemented.
For More Information
Consultation on Roadmap for Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan
European Commission, 04 February 2020