After COVID-19, Europe will then want to get a grip on cancer.

UM – 05/2021

The coronavirus pandemic has left its mark on cancer prevention and care for patients with cancer. End of April, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Cancer Action (BECA) summarised its report about the impact COVID-19 has had on cancer care. The committee based its work on a consultation process in which German Social Insurance also participated (see here).  

Cancer care has suffered

The BECA report coincided with observations that had also been made in Germany: risk products such as tobacco or alcohol were being consumed more frequently and health professionals were often being confronted with anxiety, stress and psychological trauma. Early detection examinations were less frequently attended and cancer screening invitations were often ignored.

Fewer cancer operations in Germany as well

Significantly fewer malignant neoplasms were also diagnosed in 2020 than in the previous year and fewer operations were performed in German hospitals: case rates for colorectal resections decreased by 12 per cent, gastric resections decreased by 10 per cent and breast (mammary) resections decreased by four per cent (RWI analysis February 2021). The assessment of many organisations that participated in the consultation is that the corona-related gaps in cancer care will result in increasing burdens being placed on health systems in the short term. This will require a reaction.

As the vaccination strategy against COVID-19 progresses, other care issues are coming to the fore again. This also applies to the fight against cancer – a matter close to the hearts of Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and her health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides. With its action plan, the EC has put together a comprehensive, integrated package of measures for tackling cancer.

Cancer is often preventable

Getting a grip on cancer – this is also the title of an online event organised by the European Representation of German Social Insurance and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds to be held on 14 June 2021. The two organisations will focus on prevention, early detection and the provision and affordability of drug therapies as part of the cancer plan. More information can be found on this website under the “Events” tab.