The new EU cancer strategy is a tremendous opportunity to safeguard the health of Europeans

With cancer set to become the leading cause of death in the EU, Europe's Beating Cancer Plan is certainly timely. The EESC welcomes this plan which is a milestone in the fight against cancer. However, unresolved forms of regional and social inequality mean that there is still room for improvement.

The EESC strongly supports the Commission's new EUR 4 billion plan to fund action on cancer, the first strategy document since 1990 to focus on the fight against this scourge.

"The EU needs a new Marshall Plan for oncology and this is a step in the right direction. We must not waste this chance", stressed Małgorzata Anna Bogusz, rapporteur for the EESC's opinion on Europe's beating cancer plan.

"The plan is fit for purpose as it covers many key aspects of the fight against cancer", said Milena Angelova, co-rapporteur for the opinion.

Cancer mortality and morbidity are correlated with the type of cancer, the patient's location and their social gradient. Attention must focus on regional infrastructure disparities and social imbalances in terms of employment and gender.

The EESC encourages the Member States to be proactive, and emphasises the need for effective prevention of occupational forms of cancer, calling for more research into exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and endocrine disruptors and the causes of occupational cancer, particularly in women.

Last but not least, the opinion emphasises the key role to be played by the social partners and civil society organisations when it comes to raising awareness and promoting healthy lifestyle campaigns. (at)