Every year 3.2 million Europeans are diagnosed with cancer, mostly breast, colorectal or lung cancers. Although great advances continue to be made in research and treatment, cancer remains a key health concern. The EU has taken action on various fronts to save life and improve cancer survivors' quality of life.
General health can be improved, and certain cancers avoided, by adopting a healthier lifestyle (see the European Code Against Cancer). Effective screening programmes are crucial too, for early detection and treatment of the disease.
There are currently worrying inequalities between EU countries in levels of cancer control and care, including screening and follow-up for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer. Several EU projects are gathering comparable data on cancer occurrence and outcomes to identify and promote good practice in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care across the EU. EU countries have a lot to gain from working together. Cancer is not just a national but also a European health challenge. By sharing knowledge, capacity and expertise in cancer prevention and control, we can address the problem more effectively across the continent.