Continuously Improving the European Cancer Pulse

Policy Research Projects

Under the umbrella of the European Cancer Pulse, and associated Networks and projects, ECO is developing several policy research projects to gather new relevant data, helping to identify inequalities between and within countries across Europe.

A Cancer Screening Implementation Policy Index

Under the umbrella of the European Cancer Manifesto for 2024 and the Prevention, Early Detection and Screening Network, ECO is currently launching a new pan-European campaign on cancer screening implementation to promote national political awareness and uptake of the new EU Council Recommendations on cancer screening.

As part of this campaign, a Cancer Screening Implementation Policy Index is being developed to address the ongoing lack of accessible and centralised resources on cancer screening policy activities across the EU. This will be achieved by:

  • mapping the current state-of-the-art of cancer screening policies for the 6 recommended cancer types (breast, cervical, colorectal, prostate, lung and gastric cancer);
  • generating a single measurement to benchmark countries’ advancement towards the goals of the new EU Cancer Screening Scheme;
  • creating customised dashboards identifying where progress is most required for each country.

The project is currently in its early stages, including an initial indicator framework and the constitution of an expert group. More information will be available in 2024.

Social inequalities

While there is clear demonstration of the impact of social determinants of health on access to cancer prevention and care, data remains scarce when it comes to the specific experience of historically marginalised communities in cancer systems across Europe. In this regard, issues encountered by LGBTQI+ people and ethnic minorities who still face systemic and personal discrimination in healthcare, as well as people living in rural areas, are among the strong data gaps identified via the European Cancer Pulse.

To address these gaps and under the umbrella of our Inequalities Network, ECO is in the process of launching three policy research projects on these individual social inequality issues, in the form of pan-European data gathering and survey exercises operated in collaboration with leading academic institutions in these respective fields. More information will be available in 2024.

Improving data on cancer workforce shortages and working conditions issues

One of the pillars of the ECO 'A Cancer Workforce in Crisis' campaign, is a policy research project to better quantify workforce shortages and evaluate working conditions in countries across Europe. The project will generate more recent data on working conditions and workforce shortages, including more robust coverage of key professions underpinning delivery of multidisciplinary cancer care. It will also provide insights into the current and long-term impact for European health systems. Two joint surveys have been developed together with experts from 12 Member Societies and the ECO Young Cancer Professionals group:

  • A survey on cancer workforce staffing targeted to: national cancer authorities; public health institutes; health ministries; national cancer societies; and other national contact points of international professional societies.
  • A survey on working conditions in the cancer workforce, targeted to all health professionals involved in cancer patient care.