Speaking with Members Societies of the European Cancer Organisation and its Patient Advisory Committee yesterday, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides encouraged all stakeholders in improving cancer care to mobilise towards the achievement of the common vision of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
Taking questions for more than an hour, the Commissioner provided responses to a diverse range of enquiries from different leaders in cancer care and treatment.
On the commonly reported problem across Europe of workforce shortages in key areas of oncology, Ms Kyriakides provided reassurance that the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will aim to give support in such areas, including via the provision of cross border training and continuous education opportunities.
The Commissioner reiterated her personal support for the new tool developed by the European Cancer Organisation to improve cancer patient literacy about their rights: the European Code of Cancer Practice. She remarked:
“I believe the European Code of Cancer Practice will help us achieve the objectives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. It has my 100% support.”
Asked about the approach that will be taken to achieve the Beating Cancer Plan’s goal of ensuring that 90% of eligible patients have access to Comprehensive Cancer Centres by 2030, Ms Kyriakides said that while the target is ambitious, it is necessary to be ambitious on such matters. The target allows the Commission to help and support Member States build access where presently such centres are not in place.
At other points during the dialogue, the Commissioner encouraged Non-Government Organisations involved in cancer care to connect with funding opportunities to be made available by the new EU4Health programme and gave assurance that stakeholders would have opportunities to input to the implementation of different aspects of the Beating Cancer Plan, such as the update of EU cancer screening recommendations, via a soon-to-be-announced ‘Stakeholder Contact Group’.
Speaking more widely on goal achievement for the Plan Commissioner Kyriakides, said:
“It’s not an ‘if’ the Beating Cancer Plan goals will be met. It’s a ‘when’ they will be met. The Beating Cancer Plan is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.”
E.C.O. President Dr Matti Aapro thanked the Commissioner for her passionate commitment to pursuing EU action on cancer and looked forward to continuing exchanges to build the very best implementation of the Plan’s goals and ambitions.