Cancer is one of the main health priorities for the European Commission. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, together with the EU Mission on Cancer, is a political commitment to turn the tide against cancer and a stepping stone towards a strong European Health Union, which is more secure, better-prepared and more resilient.
In 2020, 2.7 million people in the European Union were diagnosed with cancer, and another 1.3 million people lost their lives to it. There is an urgent need for more health promotion and disease prevention, especially as more than 40% of cancers can be prevented.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe disrupting and delaying effects on cancer prevention and care. Unless we take decisive action now, cancer cases are set to increase by 24% by 2035, making it the leading cause of death in the EU.
THE CANCER PLAN IS STRUCTURED AROUND FOUR KEY ACTION AREAS:
➔ early detection
➔ diagnosis and treatment
➔ improving quality of life.
The EU has been working on cancer for decades. Its actions, particularly on tobacco control and protection from hazardous substances, have saved and extended many lives. Building on this foundation, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan marks a new era for cancer prevention and care through its health-in-all-policies approach.
Equal access to high-quality screening, diagnosis, treatment and the latest state of the art technologies is a red thread throughout the Cancer Plan. Support and coordination at EU level allows scale and specialisation, while fully respecting Member States’ responsibilities for health policies.
EU CANCER PLAN: 10 FLAGSHIP INITIATIVES
1.Knowledge Centre on Cancer
2.European Cancer Imaging Initiative
3.Eliminate cancers caused by Human papillomavirus
4.EU Cancer Screening Scheme
5.EU network of National Comprehensive Cancer Centres
6.Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All
7.European Initiative to Understand Cancer
8.Better life for cancer patients initiative
9.Cancer Inequalities Registry
10. Helping Children with Cancer Initiative
Activities under the EU Mission on Cancer will improve the understanding of cancer, boost prevention, optimise diagnosis and treatment and support the quality of life of cancer patients, survivors and their families by generating new evidence and delivering innovative concepts for the implementation of policy actions of the Cancer Plan.
Our areas of intervention
With new technologies, research and digitalisation as the starting point, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan aims to tackle the entire disease pathway, focusing on actions where the EU can add the most value. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan has €4 billion of
funding, including €1.25 billion from the EU4Health programme and €2 billion from the Horizon Europe programme.
Saving lives through sustainable cancer prevention
Prevention is better than cure hence the EU is working towards:
➔ a tobacco-free generation: ensuring that less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040
➔ reducing harmful alcohol consumption in line with the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and reducing exposure to alcohol marketing
➔ reducing environmental pollution by aligning the EU’s air quality standards with the World Health Organization’s guidelines and reduce exposure to carcinogenic substances and radiation
➔ improving knowledge and health literacy to promote healthier lifestyles through updating and boosting the European Code against Cancer
➔ vaccinating at least 90% of the EU target population of girls against HPV and significantly increasing the vaccination of boys by 2030.
Improving early detection of cancer
Early detection through screening can help save lives. The EU is putting forward a new EU-supported Cancer Screening Scheme to help EU Member States ensure that 90% of the EU population who qualify for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings are offered screening by 2025
Equal access to cancer diagnosis and treatment
Everyone should have the same right to high quality care, diagnosis and treatment, the same access to medicines, and the same hope of survival, regardless of where they live. The Commission will establish, by 2025, an EU Network linking recognised National Comprehensive Cancer Centres in every Member State. This cross-border collaboration will improve patients’ access to care.
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan provides for an EU platform to improve access to cancer medicines, support for the cancer workforce through an inter-specialty training programme., and set up a Partnership on Personalised Medicine.
Improving quality of life for cancer patients and survivors
There are estimated to be over 12 million cancer survivors in Europe, including around 300,000 childhood cancer survivors, thanks to advances in early detection, effective therapies and supportive care. While this is a reason for optimism, the EU will support Member States to provide appropriate follow-up care, access to social protection and equal access to financial services.