Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in EU countries after cardiovascular diseases, accounting for 26% of all deaths in 2013. More than 1,300,000 people died of cancer in 2013 across all EU countries. However, cancer is preventable and can be detected early. It is also one of a number of non-communicable diseases that share common risk factors, and whose prevention and control would benefit the majority of citizens.
According to the State of Health in the EU reports cancer, is recognised as one of the major contributors to premature deaths in the EU. It has an impact not only on individual health, but also on the economy in terms of lower labour market participation and productivity.
Evidence suggests that there is an urgent need for more effective, accessible and resilient health systems. In particular, to support countries who are most in need of evidence-based policy making, to ensure that all EU citizens have access to effective cancer care.
EU policy on cancer
The European Commission has been working on cancer with EU countries and civil society for decades, in close collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
A number of achievements have paved the way for a joint approach to fighting cancer in the EU. Below are links on the basic documents that have underpinned EU action, and information on ongoing and past EU initiatives in the area of cancer prevention and control.
- Council Recommendation on cancer screening in the EU
- Council Conclusions on Reducing the Burden of Cancer
- European Parliament Resolution on Combating Cancer in the Enlarged European Union
- Fourth Edition of the European Code against Cancer
- Report on the implementation of the Council Recommendation on Cancer Screening in the European Union
- European guidelines for quality assurance in breast, colorectal and cervical cancer screening
Initiatives on cancer prevention and control
Initiatives coordinated by the Joint Research Centre of the Commission in the area of cancer prevention and control, include the:
- European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC)
- European Network of Cancer Registries (ENCR)
Health Programme funding contributes to the European Reference Networks on cancer as well as joint actions on:
- European Partnership (EPAAC)
- Comprehensive cancer control (CANCON)
- Rare cancer (JARC)
- Innovative Partnership on Action against Cancer (iPAAC).