In 2020, 2.7 million people in the European Union were diagnosed with cancer, and another 1.3 million people lost their lives to it, including over 2,000 young people. Unless we take decisive action now, cancer cases are set to increase by 24% by 2035, making it the leading cause of death in the EU.
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will have €4 billion of funding, including €1.25 billion from the future EU4Health programme.
Saving lives through sustainable cancer prevention
About 40% of cancer cases are preventable: effective cancer prevention strategies can prevent illness, save lives, and reduce suffering.
Together, the EU can work towards:
Improving early detection of cancer
Early detection through screening can help save lives. But inequalities to access persist between Member States.
The number of at-risk people being tested varies among Member states. It ranges from
- 6% to 90% for breast cancer
- 25% to 80% for cervical cancer
Equal access to cancer diagnosis and treatment
Everyone should have the same right to high quality care, diagnosis and treatment, the same access to medicines, and the same hope of survival, regardless of where they live.
But survival rates following treatment for breast cancer vary by 20% between countries and the five‑year survival for colon cancer ranges from 49% to 68%.
The EU Cancer Plan provides for an EU platform to improve access to cancer medicines as well as support for the cancer workforce through an inter-specialty training programme.
Improving quality of life for cancer patients and survivors
There are estimated to be over 12 million cancer survivors in Europe, including around 300 000 childhood cancer survivors, thanks to advances in early detection, effective therapies and supportive care.
- Thanks to advances in early detection, effective therapies and supportive care, there is estimated to be over 12 million cancer survivors in Europe including around 300 000 childhood cancer survivors
While this is a reason for optimism, there also needs to be appropriate follow-up care, access to social protection and equal access to financial services, including insurance.