Policy News from our Member Societies and Patient Advocacy Groups

30 June 2020

In this edition of our montly update, we highlight the following current policy initiatives of our Member Societies and Patient Advisory Committee: 

  •  ECL position paper on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

European cancer leagues were consulted and their understanding of (i) what is required to reverse the increase in cancer rates and close the inequality gap throughout the EU and (ii) of the key areas where Europe should work as one condensed into a position paper.

Dr Sakari Karjalainen, ECL President, said:

“Cancer leagues’ vision for improved cancer care and tackling inequalities throughout the EU is an important piece of the wider cancer community puzzle, as cancer leagues have a crucial role in the move towards more coordinated and harmonised cancer control efforts due to their national and regional influence and their being the main source of information and service for the general public.”

Read more here.


  • The ESR calls on the EU to unleash the full potential of Artificial Intelligence for improved healthcare

The European Society of Radiology has responded to the consultation on the European Commission’s White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European Approach. The ESR welcomes its recognition of the role of AI in improving healthcare and its approach valuing excellence and trust.

Prof Boris Brkljacic, Chairman of the ESR Board of Directors, said:

The European Society of Radiology (ESR) welcomes the European Commission’s White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its recognition of the role of AI in improving healthcare. In light of current challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital transition in healthcare needs to be accelerated to capture the benefits of innovation and automatisation.

We call on the EU institutions and the Member States to deploy the resources to match the ambitions to upscale health data use, enhance interoperability and infrastructure, drive research and strengthen regulatory oversight.

Ultimately, any proposed actions should tie in with the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and support patient care in and outside hospitals.”

Read more here.



  • The European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO) has published a White Paper on the value of surgical oncology in the management of cancer patients

The ESSO White Paper addresses the central role of the surgical oncologist in the management of cancer patients and calls for the recognition of surgical oncology as a specialty.

Surgery is a key component of cancer care and 80% of cancer patients will require some form of surgical intervention during the course of their disease. It is estimated that by the year 2030, 45 million surgical procedures will be required. Despite the increasing incidence of cancer and the need for surgery as a treatment, only 25% of the patients worldwide will receive safe, timely, affordable, and HIGH-QUALITY surgical care. There is, therefore, a need to raise awareness of the vital role that surgical disciplines play in the treatment of cancer for curative and palliative intents.

Isabel Rubio, Chair of the ESSO Public Affairs Committee, said:

“The European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO) is committed to provide education and training of cancer surgeons, as well as to act as surgical leadership in the European arena. ESSO will also work together with the rest of Societies and Patient Advocacy Groups to influence the health policy makers to design the programs to be able to deliver high-quality, timely, safe, and affordable surgical care to patients with all types of cancer. Cancer patients have a right to be treated by cancer surgeons in a center which is adequately certified for the purpose. It is essential that standards of cancer surgical care supported by robust evidence are available to all patients.”

Read the White Paper here.


  • ESOI partners in large-scale international EuCanImage Project

EuCanImage: A new large-scale international project funded by the European Commission to build a secure and federated imaging platform for next-generation artificial intelligence in oncology.

The EuCanImage consortium is pleased to announce that its €10-million grant proposal has been selected for funding by the European Commission, with a perfect evaluation score of 15/15 points. EuCanImage will build a federated, secure and scalable European cancer imaging platform, with capabilities that will enhance the potential of artificial intelligence in oncology. This 4-year research project will start on 1st October 2020 and will comprise 20 world-renown research institutions, companies and clinical centres across Europe and the United States.

Prof. Andrea Laghi, ESOI President said:

“ESOI is proud to be a partner in the EuCanImage project and to actively contribute to the dissemination throughout the radiological community.

It is a great opportunity for our society and our members to take part in such a visionary project, where integration of imaging with genomic data together with AI will hopefully lead to better diagnosis and therapy for our oncologic patients.”

Read more here.


  • The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Study on Treatment Optimisation in Drug Development

The current drug development paradigm is too drug-centred and does not sufficiently take into account the patients that will receive the new therapy. This has led to the emergence of a research gap between the pre-approval development of medicines and their post-approval use in real-world conditions. In this study, semi-structured interviews were performed with experts in drug development process. It offers an overview concerning the concept of treatment optimisation and potential policy options.

Dr Denis Lacombe, Director General of EORTC, said:

“Although the project already has substantial support, bringing it to fruition will need considerable effort together with maximum collaboration between scientific organisations, patient representatives and health economists, as well as the support of policymakers. The backing of European cancer societies is a sign that we are on the right track, but now we need to be seen to be acting rather than continuing to comment. There is an English expression: «Fine words butter no parsnips» that sums up the situation nicely. I am looking forward to working closely with all those who want to make the State of Science in Care become a reality rather than a slogan.”

Read more here.


  • International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (15 February)

The ICCD is an annual flagship conference to mark the International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (15 February) at the European Parliament, attracting close to 100 multi-stakeholder participants each year. While substantial improvements have been achieved, there has been little progress in the cure rate of several paediatric malignancies, which are still driving mortality today.All individually rare, paediatric cancers jointly represent the first cause of death by disease in children older than 1 year in Europe: more than 6,000 young patients die and 35,000 cases are diagnosed annually. The rarity of individual paediatric cancer types and their leading collective health burden across Europe make coordinated EU level approaches crucial. The ICCD event is thus dedicated to finding novel solutions to foster progress in childhood cancers through EU policy, programmes and collaboration with all stakeholders.

Prof Pamela Kearns, President of SIOP Europe, said:

“Together with the EU Beating Cancer Plan and Mission Area, a coordinated European approach on Artificial Intelligence is an integral part of the EU strategic vision for the policy term 2019-2024. International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (ICCD2020) made a powerful point that Europe’s youngest citizens affected by cancer - our children, our future - are not left behind and on the contrary can make their voices be heard, fully partake, and benefit from these technological and policy initiatives.”

More information about the event here.


  • The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) Cancer Related Complications and Comorbidities Initiative

The Cancer Related Complications and Comorbidities Initiative chaired by ECPC brough together 20 EU level stakeholders on the joint statement “Making cancer-related complications and comorbidities an EU health priority”. It is time to increase the attention given to cancer patients’ long-term well-being and quality of life, addressing the often-debilitating comorbidities and complications of cancer, both in terms of the disease itself and its treatments. An increasing population of survivors with needs for long-term follow-up care and management of complications and comorbid conditions will place a substantial burden on health systems, as well as on informal carers who provide essential support to them.

Antonella Cardone, ECPC Director said:

“Cancer complications and comorbidities can’t be ignored. Up to almost 90% of cancer patients depending on the cancer type and age report at least 1 comorbid condition.”

More information here.