During this event, the new Health Commissioner Kyriakides delivered a keynote speech on Europe’s Cancer Plan.
Key highlights of Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides’ speech
- In her opening remarks, Ms Kyriakides reminded the audience that a new case of cancer is diagnosed in the EU every nine seconds, and that epidemiology shows that 40% of Europeans will face cancer at some point in their lives.
- Turning to the content of her ‘Beating Cancer’ Plan, Commissioner Kyriakides informed that, as cancer should be approached horizontally, her Plan will be based on a health-in-all policies approach. In this regard, she highlighted five key focus areas:
- Prevention: Considering that 40% of cancer cases are preventable,the Plan will target tobacco consumption, alcohol abuse, environmental factors, vaccination, physical activity and healthy diets. With regard to this, the Commission will work towards improving food production and consumption through the new Farm to Fork strategy.
- Screening and early diagnosis: Ms Kyriakides stated that she will aim to raise awareness about early diagnosis, by encouraging Member States to implement national screening programmes for cancer, in particular for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer (here referring to the Council recommendation on cancer screening of 2003).
- Access to optimal treatment: The Plan will address the fundamental right to optimal care, by ensuring equal access to medicines, new innovative cancer treatments and clinical trials.
- Quality of life in survivorship: The Commission will aim to ensure that cancer patients and survivors, as well as their families/carers will have access to equal medical and psychological support for all Europeans. The Health Commissioner also stated that any discrimination with regard to cancer stigma will be challenged.
- Palliative care & better data and eHealth: The “Beating Cancer” Plan will aim to ensure access to palliative care to all as well as maximise the potential of eHealth. This includes the creation of a European Health Data Space, which will promote health-data exchange and research on new preventive strategies, treatments and outcomes.
It was the first time that Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides participated in a discussion on Beating Cancer Plan since she took office on 1 December. It was made clear that the Commission is eager to work in close collaboration with the European Parliament and all stakeholder groups active in the field of oncology. This is well exemplified by the announcement of a stakeholder event that will take place on 4 February in the European Parliament.
The speech of MS Kyriakides seemed to have been well received by all present stakeholders in the room. After giving her presentation, Ms Kyriakides was praised for her commitment to create this ambitious, European plan to fight cancer. As a cancer patient herself, Ms Kyriakidies re-confirmed that cancer is and will remain one of her top priorities.
The full speech is available here