EU Parliamentarians call for stronger action against cancer

EU Beating Cancer Plan

The European Parliament’s Special Committee on Beating Cancer adopted its final proposals on how to strengthen the EU’s role in the fight against cancer.

In the report adopted on Thursday by 29 votes in favour, one against and 4 abstentions, MEPs said that the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is a first step towards a real European Health Union. The comprehensive strategy addressing cancer at EU level should serve as a model for other non-communicable diseases, MEPs add.

Key recommendations put forward by the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) include facilitating access to cross-border health care and clinical trials for cancer patients, extending the use of joint procurement procedures, managing shortages of cancer medicines, guaranteeing the “Right to be Forgotten” as well as ensuring equal access to innovative cancer drugs and treatments. Details on the main calls for action are available here.

Impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients

The main lessons learnt from the public consultation held by BECA on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care in the EU are also incorporated in the report. They include calls for EU prevention and management plans, as part of building more resilient national health systems, to prevent and address shortages of medicines, devices, products and staff in times of health crises, with a focus on vulnerable groups.

“We cannot allow the unequal access to diagnosis and treatment to persist. A woman with breast cancer in one country should not have 25% less chance of surviving cancer than a woman with the same cancer in another country. If we can co-finance building bridges, roads and museums together, as a Union, then we can surely start fighting the biggest killer of our times, cancer. If we work together, if we pool our resources, we can really beat cancer!” said BECA Chair Bartosz Arłukowicz (EPP, PL)