Cancer is a serious threat to the lives of Europeans. Almost 1 in 2 people will struggle with this disease in their lifetime. Currently, 50% of patients die of cancer. We find these numbers alarming and this is why we strive to make the fight against cancer a top priority on the European political agenda.
For the EPP Group, it is crucial to make a drastic change in how we deal with cancer in Europe. We want to shift the trend, change the numbers. We want to do everything in our power to ensure that we at least double the chances of survival in Europe. In paediatrics, 80% of children are cured, but “with a dedicated European approach, we will be able to cure 9 out of 10 children with cancer in 10 years”, according to Angelika Eggert, Director of the Department of Paediatrics m.S. Oncology and Haematology, Charité Berlin.
“The doctors and the experts tell us it is possible to cure cancer. It's a question of political will, of investment, of research capacity, and of pooling the data, because that’s also very important in the fight against cancer on a European level.”
Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group
What makes cancer so dangerous is that it is such a complex disease. There are more than 100 types of cancer known today in the world. This is where sharing data across countries can make a real difference in finding a cure for specific cancer types.
The need for cooperation also becomes obvious when observing the East-West divide: numbers show that cancer patients today in Central Europe have a 30% less chance of recovery than those in Western Europe.
Why is that and how can we change it?:
If we are to shift the trend, we have to work together. We urge the Member States to join forces and fight cancer by stepping up our cooperation in the field of research, prevention, early detection, and patient support.
Our 10-step European master plan
1. Closing the research gap
By linking vast amounts of information through a European Digital Cancer Centre, as a decentralised database, we can close the research gap using the potential of Big Data. We want to enable researchers and future generations of data scientists to achieve breakthrough advancements by seeing the bigger picture and not to waste precious time.
2. Protecting patients’ right to privacy
Europe has a unique model of innovation: we put people at the centre. Unlike China or the US, in Europe, we strike a balance between progress and protection. We must embrace the potential of innovation, while setting clear ethical and social standards. This is why we want to establish an Internet Think-Tank where our researchers will be able to shape future innovation while translating our core values in the digital age.
3. Ensuring the same quality care across Europe
We will strive to reach the same quality level of cancer care in each European country. Therefore, we will encourage an agreement among European organisations representing cancer institutions, healthcare professionals, patients, and other stakeholders on a European quality accreditation for cancer centres to set core standards and evidence-based indicators for measuring the quality of all cancer services.
4. Encouraging prevention and early detection
With effective preventive measures, we could avoid 40% of all cancer cases. We want to encourage cooperation between research centres across Europe in prevention and raise awareness on risk factors as well as step up regulatory measures. Likewise, the ability to identify the disease before it is too advanced is critical to saving thousands of lives. For this reason, we want to establish a coherent European cancer prevention and early detection strategy.
5. Giving cancer research a new boost
We want to set free all of our continent’s capacity by promoting European Universities and research centres to empower our top talent alongside attracting the best researchers to Europe. This is why we want to increase the EU research budget by 50% (Horizon Europe), from €80 to €120 billion in the next seven years (2021-2027).
6. Bringing our professionals together
All centres and hospitals in Europe must be able to reach the highest standard of care and benefit from the opportunities for European synergies. This is crucial in the case of clinical trials for which only a limited number of cases exists nationally: by combining studies on a European level, researchers can reach significant and quicker solutions, especially for patients with rare forms of cancer. We want to launch a European Partnering Programme for all centres and hospitals to reach the highest standards, regardless of their size.
7. Leaving no-one behind
There should be no difference in cancer care across regions. Patients from remote areas have to be able to benefit from the same quality of care as patients in central areas. Europe must strive to achieve the same survival rates for good prognosis patients in every European country. We can break down the distance barriers by creating a European Telemedicine and e-health Platform to reach every corner of the continent.
8. Equipping Europe with the most advanced infrastructure
If Europe wants to succeed in the fight against cancer while protecting our patients’ data, we cannot keep relying on technology from China and the US that does not meet our security standards. Therefore, we want to launch an Investment Plan 4.0 for every region to have access to the latest digital infrastructure such as supercomputing and cloud technology.
9. Helping patients during treatment and aftercare
We must focus on psychological support and on improving the information available on the treatment and care process. Caregivers also deserve much more assistance in their private lives. Finally, we should encourage Member States to strengthen the right to be forgotten so that cured patients are truly free to go on with their lives without being discriminated for their difficult medical history.
10. Keeping the fight against cancer an EU top priority
In the new legislative term, the EPP Group will work closely with the European Commission to deliver on the fight against cancer. To make sure the European Parliament stands ready to follow up and be an effective counterpart to the Commissioner for Health, the EPP Group proposed the establishment of a Special Committee on Cancer in the European Parliament to keep this issue at the top of the European agenda.
Most of us have a dear friend or a family member who has battled cancer. We found a vaccination against smallpox. We found penicillin to cure pneumonia. Together, we have already eradicated devastating diseases. Why shouldn’t we win the fight against cancer? Make the impossible possible!
EPP Group wants to make the fight against cancer a top EU priority The fight against cancer is a...