News

Fighting against cancer is everyone's concern

Alojz PETERLE
07.04.2014 - 09:00
Alojz Peterle rides a bicycle

Not so long ago, the story goes, a person was far more likely to die from heart disease. Now cancer has replaced cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of premature death in 28 of 53 European nations.

An increasing social problem

The disparities in cancer mortality have their roots in inequalities in health between European countries and even in regions of the same country. During the last few years, the economic crisis in Europe has exacerbated the already existing health inequalities, depriving cancer patients of the care that they need.

The economic crisis in Europe has exacerbated the already existing health inequalities, depriving cancer patients of the care that they need Alojz Peterle

The increasing cancer burden that we experience in Europe will have a profound impact not only on patients and their families, but it will also be a significant challenge for our healthcare systems and for the future economic competitiveness of Europe.

Since one in three Europeans is diagnosed with a form of cancer, I consider cancer as a political and social problem

When I first learnt about my diagnosis, my first thought was: how I will tell this shocking news to my family? But myself, I took the news about my cancer as a warning: there was something wrong in the way I lived my life.

United we can fight cancer

Cancer challenged me in many ways. Working in the European Parliament as an MEP and being able to actually address the issue, contribute with concrete actions to our fight against cancer, was inspiring. I dedicated a big share of the past ten years of my professional endeavours to make it obvious to the broader public that health is not only a matter for individual citizens, but also a concern we share as Europeans.

Together with some colleagues from the Parliament, I founded an informal group of MEPs Against Cancer (MAC), committed to promoting action on cancer as an EU priority and harnessing European health policy to that end. I am proud MAC contributed to the Council conclusions on the reduction of the burden of cancer back in 2008 and to the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer in 2009, a Joint Action which aims to support EU Member States in their efforts to tackle cancer.

I dedicated a big share of the past ten years of my professional endeavours to make it obvious to the broader public that health is not only a matter for individual citizens, but also a concern we share as Europeans

When I am asked these days what it is that helps me to remain positive when fighting cancer, I have no doubts: it is the positive energy and the support I get from people that surround me.

We politicians are privileged in being able to support EU citizens and patients, in particular in their fight against cancer. But it needs political will. As an MEP I can help build that political will. Since one in three Europeans is diagnosed with a form of cancer, I consider cancer a political and social problem.

When I am asked these days, what it is that helps me to remain positive when fighting cancer, I have no doubts: it is the positive energy and the support I get from people that surround me

Cancer does not respect national borders, it knows no boundaries, either geographical or social - it affects all parts of our society. It is not a problem of any single nation; we must all contribute to the solution. Therefore, as Europeans we must stand together: patients, healthcare professionals, researchers, industry and politicians, united in our goal to address our common enemy – cancer.

We believe in people. #believeinpeople

Latest

Speed limit sign chaos
27.04.2017 - 11:56

EU needs a budgetary cycle that matches its objectives

Five-year budget cycle could be solution “The European Union’s seven-year budgetary cycle, which is not synchronised with the...
EU values at stake in debates on Turkey and Hungary
26.04.2017 - 19:30

EU values at stake in debates on Turkey and Hungary

In European Parliament debates on Turkey’s disputed referendum and on Hungary’s policies, MEPs discussed how to press both governments to...
EPP Group October I Plenary Briefing
26.04.2017 - 18:05

Turkey: we must stop enlargement talks and offer partnership

“All the recent developments in Turkey clearly demonstrate that President Erdogan is turning his back on the rule of law, democracy, human...
Europe, concept of security
26.04.2017 - 11:11

Social market economy in the heart of Europe

“Enjoying equal access to the job market with fair working conditions and adequate and sustainable social protection should be within reach of...

Highlights of the week

24.04.2017 - 28.04.2017
Turkish flag

Plenary debate on the situation in Turkey

At its mini-Plenary on Wednesday, the European Parliament will discuss the situation in Turkey, particularly focusing on the constitutional...
Scissors cutting ethernet cable connecting globes

Ending unjustified geoblocking

Members of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee will vote on a Report authored by Róża Thun MEP on Tuesday on geoblocking,...
Refugee Camp

Dealing with asylum applications - a clear set of rules needed

Standards for the reception of applicants for international protection will be voted on in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs...