Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

On 3 February 2021 the European Commission published its communication on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (EBCP).

According to the Commission, EBCP ‘…marks the beginning of a new era in cancer prevention and care, where patients have access to high-quality screening, treatments and the latest state of the art technologies’.

Structured around four key action areas of preventionearly detectiondiagnosis & treatment, and quality of life of cancer patients and survivors, the Plan announces ten flagship initiatives, entailing a range of legislative and non-legislative actions to support Member States in the fight against cancer.

Key EBCP flagship initiatives include:

  • A new Knowledge Centre on Cancer to help coordinate scientific and technical cancer-related initiatives at EU level;
  • European Cancer Imaging Initiative to foster personalised medicine and innovative solutions by delivering greater accuracy and reliability in diagnostic imaging and follow-up of treatments;
  • A new EU-supported Cancer Screening Scheme to increase access to population-based screening programs for breast, cervical and
    colorectal cancer;
  • Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All initiative to improve access to innovative cancer diagnosis and treatment;
  • Better Life for Cancer Patients Initiative to provide a voluntary ‘Cancer Survivor Smart Card’ to facilitate and monitor follow-up care
  • Cancer Inequalities Registry to Identify trends and disparities at different levels;
  • An EU Network linking National Comprehensive Cancer Centers to better coordinate and improve access to high quality diagnosis and care.

EBCP will make full use of all available funding instruments, with a total of €4 billion being earmarked for actions addressing cancer. The implementation of the Plan will be coordinated and monitored by the EU Cancer Plan Implementation Group, including a stakeholder contact group.

All.Can will be drafting a statement on the EBCP, highlighting opportunities for improvement in cancer care efficiency across the cancer continuum, and will continue to advocate for implementation of such measures during the roll-out of the plan.

Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries

On World Cancer Day, the Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN) published the Global cancer statistics for 2020. According to estimates, 19.3 million new cancer cases and almost 10 million cancer deaths occurred in 2020. Female breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with an estimated 2.3 million new cases (11.7%), followed by lung (11.4%), colorectal (10.0 %), prostate (7.3%), and stomach (5.6%) cancers. Lung cancer remained the leading cause of cancer death, with an estimated 1.8 million deaths (18%), followed by colorectal (9.4%), liver (8.3%), stomach (7.7%), and female breast (6.9%) cancers. 

In the face of a rising global cancer burden expected to be 28.4 million cases in 2040, it is highlighted that efforts to build a sustainable infrastructure for the dissemination of cancer prevention measures and provision of cancer care in transitioning countries remain critical.

All.Can World Cancer Day 2021 Statement

On the occasion of World Cancer Day 2021, All.Can released a statement calling for sustainable cancer care policies that give the greatest benefit to patients and value to the wider system.

All.Can calls to action included in the Statement are:

  • Engage and listen to patients and their representatives in evaluating and improving cancer care;
  • Promote an evidence-based and data-driven learning system to allow continuous updates to policies and drive improvements in care;
  • Break down silos at both health system and health service level, to foster efficiency across the entire health system and to ensure a coordinated, multidisciplinary health workforce which is able to effectively tackle cancer as well as cancer-related symptoms and complications;
  • Support healthcare professionals and providers who play a key role in addressing inefficiencies to share learnings and drive change;
  • Use technology and data, and invest in innovations shown to be of value to support and complement care provision.

The Statement further underscores that together, all actions to improve efficiency matter, and reiterates All.Can’s commitment to supporting policy initiatives to inform and generate public and political engagement on the need to improve efficiency in cancer care.

All.Can Submits Response to European Health Data Space Roadmap

All.Can has recently provided feedback on the European Commission’s European Health Data Space (EHDS) initiative. In the feedback, All.Can welcomes EHDS aiming to ensure access and optimal use of health data as well as digital health products and services.

For a comprehensive EHDS that has patients’ needs at its core and can help create a cycle of continuous improvement driving accountability across the entire care pathway, All.Can calls attention to several challenges and proposes recommendations to address them.

WHO Europe Launches New Cancer Initiative

On World Cancer Day, WHO Europe has launched its pan-European ‘United Action Against Cancer’ initiative, seeking to reduce the burden of cancer through a set of evidence-based, cost-effective policies and measures designed to achieve impact at the country level by offering guidance to policy-makers. The proposed WHO signature solutions cover the entire cancer continuum. WHO is also currently developing more advanced and specific solutions for cervical, breast and childhood cancers. These solutions will be rolled out in the coming year with clear, actionable packages.

Why Cancer Control is Fundamental during a Pandemic

Experts from the Union for Cancer Control (UICC) and other institutions published an editorial in the International Journal of Cancer on the importance of countries to develop and implement a national cancer control plan, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain health systems.

In view of the growing global cancer burden and the estimated backlog of cases due to pandemic-related disruptions, the article points to the importance of investing in long-standing cancer programs and calls for comprehensive, evidence‐based, equitable and resourced National Cancer Control Plans. In particular, the key role played by surveillance is emphasised, as it provides data that can be used to address the needs of patients along the entire cancer control continuum. A fundamental aspect of a national cancer plan, surveillance can also assist in evaluating mitigation strategies developed in response to the pandemic, and help better identify and allocate essential resources during a health crisis.

BECA Activities around World Cancer Day

On World Cancer Day, the European Parliament Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) held an Exchange of Views on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan with Health Commissioner Kyriakides and a public hearing on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on health systems and cancer treatments. During the public hearing, renowned experts addressed the effects of the COVID19-crisis and infectious diseases on health systems and cancer research, diagnosis and treatments.

On the same day, BECA also launched an online public survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer prevention, health services, cancer patients and research.

Interested stakeholders are invited to give input by filling out the online survey on the BECA website here, available from 4 February to 25 February 2021.

The next public hearing of the BECA Committee will be held on 23 February and it will be entitled ‘From lab to life: transforming childhood, adolescents and rare cancer care’.

IARC Study Highlights the Importance of Resource-Efficient, Risk-Based Oral Cancer Screening

A new study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and partners provides a proof of principle that risk-based oral cancer screening could substantially enhance the efficiency of screening programmes. The study is based on a reanalysis of outcomes of the Kerala Oral Cancer Screening Randomized Controlled Trial in India.

Value Based Healthcare Conference – Tallinn 2021

Co-organised by several stakeholders including the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the Value Based Healthcare Conference in Tallinn will take place on 4 March 2021.

To raise awareness and knowledge among the healthcare community on the value of patient-centered healthcare in light of the COVID-19 crisis and other challenges, the conference sessions will explore why we need to measure outcomes and include a discussion on good practices and real-world examples. The high-level event will bring together Estonian and EU policymakers, patient representatives, healthcare professionals, payers and industry.