Presented the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan of the European Commission: a new EU approach to prevention, treatment and care

The European Commission presented last February the 3rd the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, one of the main priority in the area of health of the von der Leyen Commission and a key pillar of a strong European Health Union.

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.

The Plan will use the potential of new technologies and scientific progress to better address cancer across the entire disease pathway.

  • Horizon Europe will fund the Mission on Cancer, a major component of the EU’s investments in cancer research and innovation, and will fund research infrastructures, cloud computing, and European Innovation Council actions;
  • In the European Digital Strategy framework, the EU will launch in 2021 the European Health Data Space (EHDS) to enable cancer patients to securely access and share their health data in an integrated format in the electronic health records between healthcare providers and across borders in the EU. The EHDS will be connected with the Knowledge Centre on Cancer to ensure that learnings are shared efficiently (2021-2025).
  • The European Cancer Imaging Initiative will be set up in 2022 to develop an EU ‘atlas’ of cancer-related images, making anonymised images accessible to a wide range of stakeholders across the ecosystem of hospitals, researchers and innovators.
  • The European Cancer Information System, which monitors the burden of cancer in Europe, will be expanded and will include new indicators detailed also by staging, cancer and a new section on childhood cancers.

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.

The actions areas are:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Diagnosis and treatment through actions to ensure better integrated and comprehensive cancer care and addressing unequal access to quality care and medicines;
  • 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.

The press conference hosted the speeches of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission and Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, who declared: “This is first and foremost about people. About celebrating and reinforcing resilience and treating cancer as a disease that can and must be overcome. A strong European Health Union is a Union where citizens are protected from avoidable cancers, where they have access to early screening and diagnosis, and where everyone is empowered with access to high quality care, at every step of the way. This is what we want to achieve with our Cancer Plan – making concrete impact for cancer care over the coming years. For me this is not just a political commitment, it is a personal commitment”.

Click here for the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 848098”.

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