It’s been three years since I adopted European plan to fight cancer And two since it was launched to combat the disease which is the second cause of death in the European Union (EU). And, although great achievements and progress have been made over this period, there is still a long way to go to achieve the ambitious goal of defeating cancer.
Ursula von der Leyen The Cancer Plan has been placed “at the heart of EU health”, revolutionizing the European approach to the fight against cancer, the President of the European Commission said at the opening of a high-level event on cancer in the EU. 4 billion euros from the EU4Health program And other equipment.
For her part, the EU Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, indicated that thanks to this “unprecedented action”, professionals, patients and governments “are working together across the EU today.” Prevention, detection, treatment and improvement of quality of life With all operations based on the latest research and innovation.
Similarly, both the Commission President and the Health Commissioner mentioned the establishment of the first network of comprehensive oncology centers – the so-called Cancer Comprehensive Center– In every member state by 2025, with the aim of providing “improved access to high-quality care”. Similarly, he has thrown light on the creation of “European Network of Young Cancer Survivors,
In short, von der Leyen summarized, “Prevention and early detection have been strengthened and diagnosis and treatment have been improved.” But the Chairman of the Commission pointed out that, every year, approximately 2.7 million people have been diagnosed in the EU With cancer and “diagnoses and deaths on the rise across our continent.” Therefore, “much remains to be done and many challenges remain to be addressed,” Kyriakides concluded.
Inequality in access
One of the challenges in the oncology field in Europe still remains inequality in access, “The disparities we see in cancer care in the EU are unacceptable,” Kyriakides said. “Every EU citizen should have access to the same level of care, thanks to the first EU Cancer Disparity Register“, he has highlighted.
However, as the Health Commissioner has indicated, in the latest European report published with updated data showing cancer trends, it is observed that “Not all citizens in the EU have the same chances of surviving cancer, “Health equity is non-negotiable,” he said. In this context, the European Plan against Cancer aims to close this gap in access, which, in fact, is the motto of this year. world cancer day Which will be organized on 4th February.
for its part, javier padilla Spain’s Secretary of State for Health also believes that “the challenge of closing the inequality gap” in cancer must be accepted. ,It affects regional disparities as well as social inequalities“, he said. And, he pointed out, a cancer diagnosis typically “leads to economic struggle” for patients and their families because of “medical care expenses, social expenses or loss of work productivity.” He claimed. , “As EU institutions, we must also take responsibility for this problem.”
Similarly, Padilla states the need to “act to guarantee” affordable access to treatment “The ongoing pharmaceutical package in Europe faces major challenges not only in preventing medicine shortages, but also in ensuring that public institutions can provide medicines. Fair access to these medicines For our patients,” he defended.
There has also been a focus on the economic cost of cancer diagnosis. his cleverness, Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO). “Growing up cost of cancer care “They are also a global concern, often causing financial difficulties for patients and posing a significant challenge to health systems,” he added.
In fact, Kluge added, “Between 2005 and 2018, the total budget for cancer drugs in EU member states alone increased by 230 percent, “To combat this, WHO, the EU and their partners are working towards universal health coverage in 115 countries around the world,” he said.
For Kyriakides, making cancer a priority in the EU institutions was fundamental and, through the European Plan against Cancer, this became a reality “thanks to a unprecedented political momentum,
“Our efforts have led us to where we are today, on the threshold of a Golden Age in Cancer Research Everyone is more committed than ever to making cancer curable,” he said. Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. “We must continue to show that political will To keep the fight going,” he said.
In this context, Metsola highlights “the importance given by the Parliament to the fight against cancer” and, an example of this, is the creation of Special commission to fight cancer In 2020, which produced a report with recommendations based on scientific research and contributions from experts. Thus, all actions taken are “the first steps on our journey towards Final Destination: Cancer Free Europe“, Metsola indicated. And “the European Parliament is committed to this objective for our citizens”, he concluded.
Despite the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cancer has been brought under control. Stay on the European agenda, “We looked for innovative ways to continue this important work; “This is a testament to what Europe can achieve when it works together,” von der Leyen said.
However, whatever was achieved is not enough and the President of the Commission has stressed on pursuing the set objectives. Thus, he outlined the next steps to be taken by the EU in oncology matters: “This year we are investing Nearly 120 million euros in several new projects To fight cancer,” he highlighted.
This will improve personalized medicine, integrate digital technologies into treatment and care, and improve protection against preventable cancers through vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis. “Seeing it 40 percent cancer can be prevented“ These new actions will help save lives,” von der Leyen stressed.
Thus, Kyriacides, which has “influenced New commission recommends vaccine-preventable cancers for HPV and hepatitis B He explained that this is “another action that adds to the prevention pillar” included in the European plan.
an aspect that is also emphasized Margarita Shinas, Vice-President of the European Commission: “We know that some tumors are caused by infection and that these are caused by viruses; We have vaccines and so, we want Promote vaccination to prevent cancer“, He mentioned.
At the same time, during the meeting, emphasis was laid on the idea that cancer has a global dimension. “It knows no limits, that’s why it needs cooperation of all countries Kyriakides said.
In this context, the Health Commissioner was the first to mention EU-US cooperation on cancer Linking the European plan to fight cancer. so, Monica M. Bertagnoli The Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has mentioned this initiative. cancer moon‘, which aims to accelerate cancer research and discoveries, foster greater collaboration and improve data sharing.
As Bertagnoli points out, the framework of this US initiative is “consistent with the European plan to fight cancer.” “It is structured into four key areas: Prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment“, he said sharply. Similarly, he said that too little attention has been paid to “reforms” Quality of life Of patients and survivors.
Finally, Kyriakides points out that measures to “address exposure to ultraviolet radiation” will be submitted for recognition this year. Right to be forgotten across the EU And the “first EU code of conduct” will be introduced. “We will also present a series of actions to personalized medicine Digital technologies, palliative care and health literacy for children,” he said.