Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: Inspiring us to Rise Above Challenges, Together!

03 February 2021

Responding to today’s publication of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, Dr Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, made the following statement applauding these goals:

  • A tobacco free generation by 2040
  • The elimination of HPV associated cancers as a public health problem across the EU
  • 90% of the target population offered breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening – 2021-2025
  • A commitment to updating EU Cancer Screening Recommendations and to consider the case of other cancers within this, such as prostate, lung and gastric cancer
  • An EU Network linking recognised National Comprehensive Cancer Centres in every Member State
  • A significant boost to the role of the European Reference Networks in our shared fight against cancer
  • Attention to cancer patients’ right to return to work, and their right not to face discrimination as a result of their cancer
  • The introduction of an Inequalities Registry to better shape our collective response

There is so much to like about Europe’s new Beating Cancer Plan. The positive sense of energy in the Plan, and the belief in being able to do more together, is inspiring. Europe can, should and will, make a common cause to beat cancer in our time. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan now gives the route map for doing so. Political leadership must be congratulated for getting us this far.

Goals to galvanise and unite forces were something the cancer community called for last year. Whether it is in respect to HPV cancer elimination, creating a tobacco free Europe, or setting hard targets on access to screening or comprehensive cancer centres, it is wonderful to see such objectives stated and committed to. These targets will enable the success of the Plan to be measured and improvement efforts to be directed towards tangible ends.

Now the energy must shift from consultation to implementation. We need collectively to bring the Plan to life. The moment demands it.

With COVID-19 wreaking such damage to health and cancer care in Europe, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan provides some hope. If we move quickly on taking forward the Plans actions on vaccination, screening and earlier detection, the Plan might help address the growing urgency of tackling the backlog.  New architecture such as a European Knowledge Centre on Cancer and European Cancer Imaging Initiative can also help us to build back smarter.

Any efforts to create new forms of cooperation, in whatever walk of life, will inevitably entail setbacks and unexpected barriers along the way. Great things are never easy to achieve. But if we work all together we can rise above the challenges.

So as the European Union embarks on a fresh decade of enhanced cooperation on cancer, the European cancer community will give its full support. I am confident, that in 2030, regardless of what we experience along the way, we will be reflecting on the better future for cancer care that we began creating today.


Further briefing material from the European Cancer Organisation will follow.
Dr Matti Aapro, President, European Cancer Organisation Dr Matti Aapro, President, European Cancer Organisation