Europe's beating cancer plan

EESC opinion: Europe's beating cancer plan

Key points

  • The EESC welcomes Europe's Beating Cancer Plan as a milestone in the fight against cancer and calls for a concrete roadmap for its implementation, with performance indicators, realistic timeframes and close involvement of Social Partners (SP) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO).
  • The European Union (EU) and Member States (MS) have to ensure the availability of high-quality, accessible healthcare infrastructure and effective support systems for patients' physical and mental well-being.
  • The negative consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in accessing to health services have also to be urgently addressed, recognising as well the supportive role SP and CSO can play in this area. 
  • To enhance the early detection of cancer, the EESC endorses the initiatives of screening and cancer prevention projects and encourages the use of new technologies and data, including analytics methods. Research and innovation should be supported by adequate funding both at national and EU level.
  • The Plan needs to respond to the demographic situation in the EU, with a focus on good health until old age, but has also to cover child cancers, which require specific measures.
  • To reduce national, regional and social inequalities in beating cancer and provide high-standard solutions for all, it is crucial for the EU to involve all MS in implementing the Plan and encourage cooperation, as well as to make easier for cancer patients to receive treatment in another MS and ensure the availability of medicines, medical equipment and other medical products provided by a well-functioning single market..
  • International cooperation and high-quality education in cancer-related disciplines is also very important, including cooperation between the MS in education and skills promotion programmes supported by the EU and implemented also by joint actions of the SP. 
  • To contribute to the effective prevention of occupational cancer, the EESC calls for more research into occupational exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and endocrine disruptors and the causes of occupational cancers, particularly in women.
  • The EESC also stresses the importance of reducing tobacco smoking and advocates further research on the testing method for the content of smoke emissions,
  • Enterprises play a central role in developing solutions for cancer prevention, screening, diagnostics and treatment. To encourage positive practices, the EU needs to provide favourable conditions for innovation, investment and running businesses.
  • The EESC thinks that it is paramount for the success of the Plan to make its measures understandable and credible to European citizens. EU-wide campaigns to increase awareness and inform on health lifestyles, the role of clean air and water and cancer in workplaces should be developed with this aim.