Knowing more about cancer will help us to understand it better.

IK – 07/2021

There has been considerable progress in the fight against cancer in recent decades. Nevertheless, cancer is still one of the most dangerous diseases both in Germany and across Europe. Last year, around 2.7 million people were diagnosed with cancer in Europe and about 1.3 million patients died of this disease. Cancer is the most common cause of death amongst 45 to 65-year-olds.

The first of the ten flagship initiatives of the EU's Beating Cancer plan adopted by the EC, which is known as the “Knowledge Centre on Cancer”, was launched end of June 2021. The Knowledge Centre on Cancer is an online platform that will be used throughout the Member States to gather and share knowledge and coordinate the measures to combat cancer.

The knowledge centre as an information portal

Collecting and sharing knowledge about cancer are essential conditions for improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. In the future, all Member States will be able enter the online database and call up the following information: basic findings and statistics about cancer - which should help to fill the gaps in the overall information. Current developments in cancer are also intended to support assessing the benefits of the screening programmes. Guidelines will be collected and made available to reduce diversities between the Member States and regions in treating cancers. Ultimately, findings about the connections between cancer and the environment should also help in achieving a healthier lifestyle.

Using the knowledge base as a reference point for policy-making

The online database that was recently launched is not only intended to collect and make research results available for urgent prevention, diagnosis or cancer care as this knowledge centre will also identify, agree upon, plan and coordinate scientific and technical activities. It is also intended to be a digital-level coordination tool for the many cancer initiatives.

The overall objective of the Knowledge Centre on Cancer is to determine the need for action in research or policy-making. "Pooling and sharing the latest cancer research findings, innovations and technology as well as the new personalised and digital solutions, is crucial for enabling health and research authorities to better fight cancer", said Stella Kyriakides, the EU Health Commissioner, at the launch of the knowledge database.

The EU’s Beating Cancer plan as the main pillar of the fight against cancer

With the Beating Cancer plan that was adopted on 3 February 2021, the EC intends to present a new overall concept, covering prevention, treatment and care for cancer patients. The plan is sub-divided into four main areas of action – prevention, early detection, diagnosis as well as treatment and improvement in the quality of life. It is comprised of ten flagship initiatives and various support measures. German social insurance supports the EU’s Beating Cancer plan, especially in the three areas of prevention, early detection and high-quality pharmaceutical care.