Every year, at the European Cancer Summit, the European Cancer Organisation brings together leading oncology experts, experienced patient advocates, key opinion leaders, policy makers and politicians to discuss key issues in reducing the burden of cancer, saving, and improving the lives of patients and the public.
This year’s European Cancer Summit on 17-18 November focused on the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Cancer Mission’s recommendations, including through our nine Focused Topic Networks.
The European Cancer Summit is a key event in the cancer policy calendar. Our goal is to showcase the multi-stakeholder, collaborative efforts being made, to ensure tangible results. We believe this exchange will help to improve outcomes for cancer patients and raise awareness of the many significant challenges of cancer.
You can see who joined us "on stage" here.
The European Cancer Summit 2021 Programme Co-Chairs Theresa Wiseman and Kathy Oliver guided the development of an impactful programme with leading speakers.
With the support of visit.brussels and the Brussels-Capital Region
Hosted by Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, and Co-Chairs of the European Cancer Summit 2021, Theresa Wiseman and Kathy Oliver.
One of the earliest parts of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to be put into action was the commitment to updating the EU Council Recommendations on Cancer Screening. The Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) has been tasked with providing initial advice on how to improve the recommendations for the 3 tumour types currently covered: breast, cervical and colorectal. Advice will also be provided on potential additions of other tumour types to the EU screening recommendations, with lung, prostate and gastric cancer mentioned alongside others. This session sought further information on the process ahead for updating these Recommendations, and also considered wider policy needs and opportunities for early detection of cancer.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the Prevention, Early Detection and Screening Network, Isabel Rubio and Jan Van Meerbeeck, and with live contributions from:
Through enhanced vaccination, screening, treatment and education/awareness policies we have a real opportunity to eliminate HPV associated cancers as a public health problem in Europe, and indeed the world. A goal now supported by Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, and the WHO’s Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy.
But the goal of elimination will not be achieved without overcoming many known challenges, including the spectre of vaccine hesitancy, the backlog on screening and vaccination created by the Covid-19 pandemic, and inequalities across Europe in accessing many of the services and treatments essential to combatting HPV cancers.
This session took stock of latest policy developments in respect to HPV cancer elimination, including the global context, and put forward practical proposals for inclusion in any implementation plan for the achievement of the HPV cancer elimination goal.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the HPV Action Network, Daniel Kelly and Rui Medeiros, and with live contributions from:
Jeff Andrews, Medical Affairs Global VP, Integrated Diagnostic Solutions, BD Life Sciences
Political attention at the global level is rightly giving attention to the possibilities of ‘resetting’ the governing systems of international cooperation and economic policy in the wake of the global health crisis we have been living through.
The Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation Network of the European Cancer Organisation calls for a similar ‘reset’ in the paradigm of research in investment in cancer care. Research in cancer care should address questions relevant and meaningful for patients and public health and such research should follow an independent process to support optimal access for patients to evidence-based multidisciplinary cancer treatment.
This session took stock of latest developments towards this goal, including from the regulatory, political and national perspectives.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the Health Systems and Treatment Optimisation Network, Denis Lacombe and Yolande Lievens, and with live contributions from:
Advances in the use and power of data. Telemedicine making forms of care and treatment more accessible. Artificial Intelligence enhance many aspects of treatment and research. Blockchain, virtual reality and robotics. A wave of digital innovation is changing the way we do cancer care, and offering fresh opportunities for improvement.
But change, as always, brings challenges and some obstacles can become persistent. The Digital Health Network of the European Cancer Organisation has been exploring these themes and policy needs throughout 2021, and presented its positional paper at the European Cancer Summit.
Speakers and Panellists at the Digital Health Summit session shared their perspectives and suggestions on this agenda, with a shared aim of wanting Europe to go further, faster, in delivering the promise of digital for cancer care.
Hosted by Wim Oyen, Co-Chair of the Digital Health Network, and Gilly Spurrier-Bernard, Vice-Chair of the Patient Advisory Committee, and with contributions from:
David Anstatt, Vice President, Real-World Analytics & Data Science, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)
The announcement in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan of a new Inter-specialty cancer training programme was welcome news for all who believe in the fundamentals of multidisciplinary and multiprofessional care as the bedrock of quality cancer care. But what should such a curriculum be composed of and which professions should be within focus?
The Workforce Network of the European Cancer Organisation calls for a broad programme that supports greater recognition and mutual understanding by professions of all the many components and contributions that Europe’s healthcare professionals bring to high quality cancer care. Any such EU programme needs to be widely accessible, utilising the full promise of digital technology to broaden participation.
Speakers and Panellists at the Workforce Summit session explored the best means forward for implementing this, and other workforce relevant initiatives of the EU currently in development.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the Workforce Network, Andreas Charalambous, Mirjam Crul and Geerard Beets, and with live contributions from:
The creation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan in February 2021 was a landmark for European cooperation in fighting cancer together. The broad swathe of nearly 40 initiatives across all areas of the cancer care continuum provide a firm foundation for a fresh decade of countries, health systems, healthcare professionals and stakeholders collaborating to achieve more faster.
But now we have the Plan, how do we best ensure implementation success? What are the principles for success? How can the groundswell of good will from all stakeholders best be channelled? What are the obstacles we know we will face, and how can we already prepare to overcome them?
Hosted by Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, and with contributions from:
Aron Anderson, Cancer Ambassador for Europe, World Health Organization (WHO)
The European Cancer Summit Declaration was presented during this session by Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, and Co-Chairs of the European Cancer Summit 2021, Theresa Wiseman and Kathy Oliver.
An estimated 1 million cancer patients in Europe could be undiagnosed with cancer due to the backlog of screening tests, reduction and delays in referrals and restricted healthcare resources caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The same research exercise by the European Cancer Organisation’s Time to Act campaign also found that:
As we increasingly learn to live with Covid-19, there can be no let up in the effort to catchup on the backlog for cancer services created by the greatest disruption to health services in Europe in living memory.
This session included an update on the Time To Act campaign “Don’t let Covid-19 stop you from tackling Cancer” and showcased the new Data Navigator. The campaign, led by the European Cancer Organisation, was launched in May 2021 with campaign materials translated in over 30 languages and national virtual events held in 10 countries prior to the Summit: Poland, Italy, Spain, Romania, Malta, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Slovenia, Portugal. For more information, visit TimeToActCancer.com and #TimeToActCancer.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the Special Network: Impact of COVID-19 on Cancer, Mirjam Crul and Mark Lawler, and with live contributions from:
The latest implementation plan for the EU Cancer Mission sets out the goal of: “Improving the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and for those affected by cancer including their families, to live longer and better.”
Breaking this down further into component parts, supporting objectives include: improving the understanding of cancer; preventing what is preventable; optimising diagnostics and treatment; and, supporting quality of life.
The case for joint working between countries on the research elements of combatting cancer have been well made and advanced, but can the new infrastructures and collaborations announced by the EU Cancer Mission meet the need?
With Mission-related initiatives like UNCAN.eu and Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures already being carried forward, this session provided opportunity for both update from those at the heart of developments, as well as perspectives from those so closely impacted, including patients and the research community.
Hosted by Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, and with live contributions from:
An admirable aspect of both Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Cancer Mission has been its attention to the fundamental infrastructures through which we deliver cancer care and research. Specifically, both the Plan and Mission are unambiguous in their support for the comprehensive cancer care model, seeing within this mode of care delivery the foundations for future excellence in all EU countries.
With an EU Network of Comprehensive Cancer Care Centres now being advanced, it is vital that further clarity in understanding is gained by all involved of the core purposes to which this new network will be devoted, and that no part of Europe is inadvertently left behind from a failure to plan early for comprehensive cancer care development in all regions.
Keynote speakers and panellists closely involved in the development and implementation of the EU Network Comprehensive Cancer Centres debated the challenges of achieving the fresh vision for practice across Europe. Reference was made to the E.C.O. publication ‘Advancing the Vision of Comprehensive Cancer Care in Europe’.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the Quality Cancer Care Network, Philip Poortmans and Simon Oberst, and with live contributions from:
EU initiatives such as the Beating Cancer Plan and Cancer Mission are laudable in their attention to all aspects of the cancer care continuum, including survivorship and quality of life. But are the initiatives published during 2021 elaborated far enough to assist the breadth, complexity and particularities of needs for all that happens after and around treatment?
Expert speakers and panellists illuminated tools and proven solutions to such matters as supportive cancer care. Patients spoke of the realities of life during and after cancer. International contributors highlighted how the PROM/PREM agenda can and will drive change, including, but not limited to, the nature of treatment development and innovation.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the Survivorship and Quality of Life Network, Andrew Davies and Csaba Dégi, and with live contributions from:
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan recognises the unacceptable inequalities in cancer care evident across all areas of the cancer care continuum, between countries and regions and between groups in society, including, but not limited to, categories such as age, gender, ethnicity and social status.
In recognition of this, the European Commission, working closely with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has already initiated the process of establishing a new Cancer Inequalities Registry. This will identify trends, disparities and inequalities between Member States and regions. Alongside regular qualitative assessments of the country-specific situation, the Registry will identify challenges and specific areas of action to guide investment and interventions at EU, national and regional level under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
But what are the measures for such a registry that will make the difference? What aspects of cancer inequalities do we risk overlooking? What lessons can we learn and apply from our shared international combat of inequalities in cancer care?
Experts from around Europe, the globe, disciplines and tumour types contributed to the Summit session’s discussions and provided key recommendations for promotion via the European Cancer Summit 2021 Declaration.
Hosted by the Co-Chairs of the Inequalities Network, Nicolò Battisti and Hendrik Van Poppel, and with live contributions from:
The oncology community is a global community. Cancer crosses all borders and leaves no country, community or family untouched. The case for international cooperation against cancer is inherent, and, with technology's help, the means to cooperate ever-developing. Political will for greater collaboration between countries on health is presently strengthened as a result of the pandemic. Speakers at the Cancer Issues Worldwide session reflected on how this moment might be seized to ensure we go further, faster on global cooperation against cancer.
Hosted by Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, and with live contributions from:
Closing remarks from the Co-Chairs of the European Cancer Summit 2021, Theresa Wiseman and Kathy Oliver. Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, introduced the next President of the European Cancer Organisation, Andreas Charalambous, starting his term on 1 January 2022. Ahead of France taking the Presidency of the EU Council from January, we also heard reflections from Thierry Breton, Director General, French National Cancer Institute (INCa).
If you missed part of European Cancer Summit 2021, or simply want to watch a session again, all session recordings are available on the Summit virtual platform on Wondr Medical here.
Log in with your Summit credentials, click on 'Agenda' where under each session description you will find 'Watch Recording'.
A brighter future for healthcare and cancer care across Europe can be built out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the EU Mission on Cancer, the European Health Data Space, and the new EU Pharmaceutical Strategy, among other initiatives, are all arriving on time to achieve this.
With implementation activity across these major policy drives already underway, the following Declaration from the European Cancer Summit 2021 encapsulates the headlines of overall advice from the cancer community at this time.
In 2022, fresh EU Council recommendations for Cancer Screening and Early Detection should be formulated.
In 2022, a full implementation strategy for eliminating HPV associated cancers in Europe should be developed and articulated.
To support Europe’s fight against cancer, an EU-led process should be established to define and address the important patient-centric public health needs.
To advance Digital Health’s contribution to cancer care, the application of GDPR should be reviewed, registry interoperability accelerated and digital literacy boosted.
Oncology workforce shortage & resilience should be addressed within EU initiatives such as the Cancer Inequalities Registry & HERA, and greater support provided to EU level professional qualification recognition efforts.
The future EU Inter-specialty cancer training programme should have a broad focus, supporting improved mutual understanding of professional roles in cancer care across all disciplines and professions instrumental to high quality cancer care.
Implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan should be supported by regular public reporting on progress, measured with the support of clear goals.
All current and future EU and WHO initiatives related to cancer must be leveraged to aid the building back of cancer services made urgent by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The EU Mission on Cancer should conceive of itself the role of helping to stimulate the creation of a Europe in which all countries in the EU are at the frontiers of new research and knowledge in cancer.
The new EU Network of Comprehensive Cancer Care Centres should formally aim to: reduce inequalities in diagnosis, treatment and care; strengthen the quality of translational, clinical and outcomes research; and, integrate clinical care and research.
Regional hospitals and primary care providers should be encouraged and supported to develop collaborative regional and local networks, linked to the EU Network of Comprehensive Cancer Centres.
All initiatives of Europe’s Beating Cancer and the EU Mission on Cancer should be regularly reviewed for the further contribution they can provide to improved survivorship and quality of life for those impacted by cancer.
For the Cancer Inequalities Registry to achieve maximum impact it must be public facing, intuitive and interactive.
The EU’s cancer inequalities agenda must also provide significant focus to social determinants of cancer inequalities.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, all structures for inter-governmental collaboration on health should be refreshed and renewed, including for global cooperation against cancer.
Download the full Declaration here.