Every year, 3.5 million people in the EU are diagnosed with cancer. Directly affecting 40% of EU citizens, cancer impacts the economy, health systems, and European society.
To tackle this issue, the European Commission launched a new mandate on World Cancer Day. Officially titled Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the plan aims to strengthen the European approach at four key stages: prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.
However, concrete actions have yet to be determined. To help shape the plan, the Commission has opened two public consultations.
The first consultation, which lasts 12 weeks, asks individuals with personal and/or professional experience to voice their opinions on how to address cancer in the EU.
The second consultation focuses directly on the plan’s roadmap, which defines the problem to be tackled and objectives to be met. This consultation is for specialists to contribute to the scope of the strategy and outline potential policy options.
This is an opportunity for NGOs, industry and other organizations to weigh in on the roadmap and give their feedback.
The results of this second consultation will be used to shape targeted meetings with stakeholders. Participation in this part of the consultation is key to ensure involvement in the coming months.
All of this will help build “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan”, which we expect by the end of this year.
In addition to political attention, cancer will receive a specific mission within Horizon Europe, the ambitious EU research program, backed by 100 billion euros worth of funding.
It’s also going to be a political issue as the European Parliament will actively contribute to the plan. We expect an own-initiative report on cancer foreseen in ENVI, as well as the formation of a special committee on cancer. Furthermore, a cancer intergroup has already been approved, in addition to the long-standing MEPs Against Cancer group.
For industry, this is an opportunity to engage at EU and Member State levels on how innovation fits into the plan, unless policymakers decide to focus on more challenging issues such as affordability and accessibility.
While this framework is a promising start, we now wait to see how political promises to beat cancer will be translated into concrete measures.