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This year’s World Cancer Day marks the anniversary of the publication of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the first EU overarching strategy aimed at reducing the incidence of cancer in Europe by addressing each stage of the disease, from prevention to follow-up care. One year in, the implementation of the strategy’s Action Plan is in full swing. Which topics will be at the centre of EU cancer policy in 2022?
Approximately 40% of all cancer cases in the EU are preventable. This year, the Commission will put much effort into boosting cancer prevention by addressing key risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, tackling specific environmental pollutants, hazardous substances and carcinogenic chemicals, as well as promoting healthy diets (e.g. via food labelling) and lifestyle.
Detecting cancer at an early stage increases survival rates, decreases the financial burden on patients and the healthcare system, and provides patients with better quality of life. In the course of 2022, the EU will update the Council Recommendation on cancer screening with a view to widening access to regular screenings to targeted EU population. The initiative will also consider the extension of targeted cancer screening beyond breast, colorectal and cervical cancer to include prostate, lung and gastric cancer, as well as other cancers if supported by scientific evidence.
The potential of European digitalisation must be fully grasped. This also concerns health and cancer care. The new European Health Data Space will be launched this year, with the aim, among others, to promote better exchange and access to different types of health data to support cross-border healthcare delivery and health research.
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