The overall objective of the EU beating cancer plan is to improve the prevention, detection, treatment and management of cancer in the EU while reducing health inequalities between and within Member States. It will set out actions that support, coordinate or supplement Member States’ efforts
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – a main priority in the area of health of the von der Leyen Commission and a key pillar of a strong European Health Union. With new technologies, research and innovation as the starting point, the Cancer Plan sets out a new EU approach to cancer prevention, treatment and care. It will tackle the entire disease pathway, from prevention to quality of life of cancer patients and survivors, focusing on actions where the EU can add the most value.
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will be supported by actions spanning across policy areas from employment, education, social policy and equality, through marketing, agriculture, energy, the environment and climate, to transport, cohesion policy, and taxation.
Four key action areas
The Cancer Plan is structured around four key action areas with 10 flagship initiatives and multiple supporting actions. It will be implemented using the whole range of Commission funding instruments, with a total of €4 billion being earmarked for actions addressing cancer, including from the EU4Health programme, Horizon Europe and the Digital Europe programme.
- Prevention through actions addressing key risk factors such as tobacco (with the aim to ensure that less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040), harmful alcohol consumption, environmental pollution and hazardous substances. Additionally, a ‘HealthyLifestyle4All’ campaign will promote healthy diets and physical activity. To prevent cancers caused by infections, the Cancer Plan’s objective is to vaccinate at least 90% of the EU target population of girls and to significantly increase the vaccination of boys by 2030.
- Early detection of cancer by improving access, quality and diagnostics and support Member States ensuring that 90% of the EU population who qualify for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings are offered screening by 2025. To support achieving this, a new EU-supported Cancer Screening Scheme will be put forward.
- Diagnosis and treatment through actions to ensure better integrated and comprehensive cancer care and addressing unequal access to quality care and medicines. By 2030, 90% of eligible patients should have access to National Comprehensive Cancer Centres linked through a new EU Network. In addition, a new ‘Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All’ initiative will be launched by the end of 2021 to help improve access to innovative cancer diagnosis and treatments and a European Initiative to Understand Cancer (UNCAN.eu) will help identify individuals at high risk from common cancers.
- Improve quality of life of cancer patients and survivors, including rehabilitation, potential tumour recurrence, metastatic disease, and measures to support social integration and re-integration in the workplace. A ‘Better Life for Cancer Patients Initiative’ will be launched, focusing on follow-up care.
In addition, to support new technologies, research and innovation, a new Knowledge Centre on Cancer will be launched to help coordinate scientific and technical cancer-related initiatives at EU level. A European Cancer Imaging Initiative will be set up to support the development of new computer-aided tools to improve personalised medicine and innovative solutions.
A particular focus will be paid to children, through the launch of the ‘Helping Children with Cancer Initiative’ to ensure that children have access to rapid and optimal detection, diagnosis, treatment and care. Finally, to identify trends, disparities and inequalities between Member States and regions, a Cancer Inequalities Registry will be established in 2021.
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