German Social Insurance calls on Commission to use the opportunities offered by digitalisation to combat cancer. Special attention should be paid to prevention in the world of work.

UM – 03/2020

The German Social Insurance stands behind the European Union’s intention to combat cancer holistically with a new action plan. A holistic approach is needed because illness and recovery cannot be placed on the shoulders of the social and healthcare systems alone. On 4 February 2020, the European Commission launched a consultation on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. The German Social Insurance participated in the consultation and issued comments.

Priority on healthy living conditions

Preventing cancer will be a major focus of the new cancer plan. The development of a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system and protection against environmental influences ties in with the European Green Deal. The German Social Insurance is of the opinion that the focus should be on setting-based prevention measures that target the availability, price and advertising of products that are harmful to health. The focus should not just be on changing people’s individual behaviour. It is also important to remember that the probability of developing cancer also depends on social status.

Cancer depends on where you live

It is a key European concern to improve access to treatment and therapy in Europe so that all Europeans have equal health opportunities. Unfortunately, this is far from being the case today. Access to social protection and to good quality prevention and health services are principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and core elements for reducing health inequalities in and between Member States. This is based on well-functioning and efficient health and social systems and evidence-based healthcare. The German Social Insurance believes it is essential not to overburden the pricing and reimbursement systems of the Member States with regard to suitable, evidence-based services. High prices are a major reason for a lack of therapies, including cancer treatment.

Important to remember the work environment

It should be noted that the world of work has not been adequately addressed yet. More attention should be paid to this area, given that people spend a large part of their time working. It should also be borne in mind that work-related cancers, for example those resulting from asbestos exposure, often only manifest themselves after a long latency period.

Potential of digitalisation

The EU is of the opinion that digitalisation can provide new opportunities. A European Health Data Space will be set up to promote the exchange of relevant information and research on prevention strategies and therapies. Cancer is also one of the five new EU research and innovation missions under the Horizon Europe programme. The German Social Insurance also sees great potential in this area.

New ed* on Beating Cancer Plan

The European Representation of the German Social Insurance in Brussels recently published its latest edition of the ed* newsletter as part of the policy discussion on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. It provides an insightful look into the services offered to cancer patients and their relatives in Germany, as well as activities at European level.

The latest edition of ed* can be read here.