On 4 February, World Cancer Day, the new European health and food safety Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, will introduce her draft European Cancer Plan, and open it up for consultation. Kyriakides is no newcomer to the cancer world. A trained clinician, she has previously led the work of the European breast cancer coalition, Europa Donna. On 10 December, in one of her first speaking events as Commissioner, she was invited to a meeting in the European parliament to present what is expected from the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
Cancer has been chosen as a priority as it is considered as a condition that concerns everyone. 40% of Europeans will face cancer at some point in our lives. It is also a disease that does not distinguish between age, sex, religion, race. There is a clear need for Europe to join forces to fight against a common challenge. The Plan is aiming to harness the collective power of all stakeholders to make real change.
The plan will push for the need to approach cancer horizontally, in all policies. Cancer cannot be seen only at the doctor’s office and laboratories, but also in schools and workplaces. Furthermore, it is not only about the health sector, but everyone other sectors need to come on board too so that issues such as pollution and the environment can be addressed too. They need to join the dots between these areas. At its starting point, the Plan must be based on health in all policies approach.
Prevention will be a big focus of the plan. About 40% of cancer cases are preventable. If Europe can pool efforts in this area, this can be changed.
It is here that the EAU will focus on support and expertise on early detection of prostate cancer. Our 2019 European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day focused on this – please see the policy briefing for more info on the early detection of prostate cancer. Also, please watch this video in which Prof. Hendrik van Poppel (BE), EAU Adjunct Secretary General, expounds on the essence of an early detection programme for prostate cancer.
Another focus will be on access to care and treatment. Huge inequalities exist across the EU, including on early diagnosis, screening and prevention. There will also be a focus on survivorship and quality of life and palliative care.
We have also joined an alliance of organisations calling for a pillar of work on cancer-related complication and co-morbidities. The briefing can be found here.