The goals, projects and foundations brought about by the publication of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Research Mission on Cancer must be seen through to completion, not left half done. Political and stakeholder commitment must be renewed and strengthened.
The world has not stood still since 2021. Factors indicating the value of update include: growing science and practice developments in fields such as hereditary cancer understanding, multi cancer early detection and personalised medicine; and the too-long unaddressed experience of ongoing chronic workforce shortage within oncology systems across Europe.
Setting clear goals in any field of activity gives clarity, certainty, accountability and unites diverse stakeholders via a common aim. In the context of European cancer policy it can also serve as a vital mechanism for addressing inequalities in cancer care that exist between and within countries.
Progress towards existing EU goals in areas such as HPV cancer elimination, the achievement of a tobacco free generation, access to screening programmes and comprehensive cancer care, should be reported upon and published annually to accelerate momentum towards their achievement.
New goals should be agreed by the European Commission, Parliament, and Member States. Suggestions include: an average of 70% ten-year survival rates for all European patients with cancer by 2035 (the “70:35” vision) and, allied to this, a doubling of survival for poor prognosis tumours.
Rising incidence of cancer is an international challenge. With the foundations laid by Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Research Mission on Cancer, there is now opportunity for the EU to give leadership at world level. Chances to synergise global efforts, such as the WHO goal of cervical cancer elimination and connecting EU cancer efforts with US Cancer Moonshot endeavours, should be actively pursued.
Taking inspiration from the new commitments at EU level to combatting health product and medicine shortages as a collective endeavour across countries, the new European Commission 2024-29 should set shared goals and conduct initiative to combat the persistent and growing crisis of shortage in the oncology and health professions experienced by all EU countries.
Support the European Cancer Charter and Time to Accelerate Manifesto: share your endorsement via firstname.lastname@example.org