The European Commission published its Beating Cancer Plan

 

On 3 February the European Commission published its much-awaited Beating Cancer Plan. The Plan develops proposals and key initiatives for each stage of the disease, remarking the role that research, innovation and new technologies play in the fight against cancer.

The Beating Cancer Plan’s action focuses on the entire disease pathway: prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment as well as quality of life of cancer patients and survivors. It will be implemented with the support of the EU funding instruments with a total of €4 billion.

Moreover, the Plan outlines the potential of new technologies and recent scientific advances to better address cancer. Adapting the use of innovation to cancer research is presented as an essential step forward to understand how to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat this disease more effectively.

It is worth noting that the Plan is structured around ten flagship initiatives, supported by a number of other concrete actions and reinforced by parallel Commission’s initiatives. The ten flagship initiatives are:

  1. Knowledge Centre on Cancer to coordinate the European scientific and technical cancer-related initiatives.

  2. European Cancer Imaging Initiative to support the creation of new computer-aided tools to improve personalised medicine and innovative solutions.

  3. Support to Member States to improve access to vaccines and vaccination infrastructure across the EU to eliminate cervical and other cancers caused by human papillomaviruses.

  4. New EU Cancer Screening Scheme to achieve equal access to high-quality, population-based screening programmes for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.

  5. EU Network linking recognised National Comprehensive Cancer Centres (NCCC) in every Member State to improve access to high-quality diagnosis and care; the aim is to have all Member States equipped with at least one NCC.

  6. Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All initiative to improve access to innovative cancer diagnosis and treatment based on new advances in genomics and personalised care.

  7. European Health Initiative to Understand Cancer (UNCAN.eu) to facilitate personalised approaches to cancer prevention and care.

  8. Better Life for Cancer Patients Initiative for the creation of a virtual ‘European Cancer Patient Digital Centre’ to support the exchange of patients’ data and monitoring of survivors’ health conditions.

  9. Cancer Inequalities Registry to map trends in key cancer data identifying inequalities between the countries and regions to guide EU investment and interventions.

  10. The launch of the Helping Children with Cancer Initiative to ensure that children have access to rapid cancer diagnosis, treatment and care.


The Cancer Plan presents a comprehensive, multi-pillared, and holistic approach to cancer care. The initiatives are numerous and tackle the whole cancer pathway by improving access, reducing inequalities and eradicating some of the problems at the root.

The holistic approach can be perceived also in terms of alignment with other initiatives, related to the health sector as well as research and development. This gives important opportunities to engage with stakeholders and relevant policymakers from a wide range of sectors.

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