The European Beating Cancer Plan turned one year old on 4
February. It comprises ten flagship initiatives and many complementary
measures, and aims to reverse the trend in cancer control. It is feared that
the number of cancer deaths will increase by 24 per cent by 2035 if no action
is taken. The European Union (EU) has already launched four initiatives and
awarded 12 action grants in the first year under the EU4Health programme.
Nearly EUR 147 million has been set aside for cancer control in 2022, with the
bulk of the money earmarked for prevention (see here).
A lot happened in the first year
Under the leadership of the European Commission, a steering
group of representatives from the Member States has been established. This is
based on a decision made by a group of experts from 2018 (see here). The steering group is intended to facilitate the
implementation of evidence-based examples of good practice by the Member States
and to advise the European Commission on the use of research findings. In
addition, thematic subgroups, among others, on prevention, early detection,
diagnosis and treatment as well as disparities have been established on a
temporary basis. This is also where social security comes into play.
This was kicked off by SAMIRA
On 5 February 2021, SAMIRA, the action plan for the use of
ionising radiation in medicine, was unveiled as the first measure to implement
the beating cancer plan (see here).
The Cancer Knowledge Centre in turn implemented the
European Commission's first flagship initiative end of June 2021. The online
platform is used to collect and process information in order to monitor cancer
trends and evaluate countermeasures. It also provides space to coordinate
cancer initiatives (see here).
The HealthyLifeStyle4All campaign has also been launched
end of September 2021, with the aim of promoting sport, physical activity and
healthy eating (see here).
The EU network of centres of excellence in oncology was
launched on 13 December last year. The network to be set up by 2025 aims to
improve access to quality-assured diagnoses and treatments. The quality of
education, research and clinical trials should increase throughout the EU (see here).
As of February 2022, another of the plan's flagship
initiatives, the Register of Disparities, has been implemented (see here). The register aims to make development trends and
differences between Member States and regions visible. In addition, the request
for comments on cancer screening has initiated a process to develop a proposal
for revising the 2003 European Council Recommendations on Cancer Screening. In
implementation of the flagship initiative 3, a campaign will be launched to
raise awareness about human papillomavirus (HPV) and increase vaccination
rates. Member States will be provided with funding for this under the EU4Health
programme. The fourth action is the establishment of the EU Young Cancer
Survivors Network (for the press release on the new actions, see here).
A number of legislative measures have been initiated
In some cases, legislative measures were explored even
before the beating cancer plan was launched. An impact assessment was initiated
in June 2021 to revise the labelling regulations for alcoholic beverages. Also
last June, consultation was held on the taxation of conventional and novel
tobacco products. Revision of the rules on consumer information for food, the
establishment of nutrient profiles and consumer information for alcoholic
beverages is currently under consultation. The probe into tax rules on
foreign-bought alcohol and tobacco kicked off in late 2020 with the aim of
reducing tax losses and better protecting public health.
Among others, the project "Cancer in Childhood,
Adolescence and Young Adulthood" is to commence in 2022; in addition, the
flagship initiative on imaging techniques in cancer medicine. A list of all
measures can be found here. Moreover, with the proposals for a European Health
Data Space and on pharmaceutical legislation, major legislation with ...