The past year has been one of recovery and rebuilding. However, it has also exposed the inequalities in cancer care across Europe more starkly than ever. That’s why, during the European Cancer Summit 2022, a Lancet Oncology Commission ‘European Groundshot’ was launched with 12 evidence-based recommendations. They provide a roadmap to achieving a 70% survival rate, on average, for all cancer patients in Europe by 2035. Likewise, the European Cancer Pulse, also launched this year, is an innovative and interactive data visualisation tool tracking inequalities in cancer.
Demanding that cancer be a priority for European and national policymakers was a key thread throughout this year’s Summit. Whether using lessons learnt from Covid-19, leveraging new technologies, or riding on the momentum of multiple actions at EU and national levels, participants committed to achieving this goal.
The European cancer community acknowledged that we need to play the long game, ensuring continuity between political mandates, and holding policymakers to account. We need them to create the right conditions and provide sufficient financing as we prepare for emerging demographic shifts and new technologies that can improve prevention, screening, early detection, treatment, and survivorship.
The importance of Comprehensive Cancer Control Networks and guaranteeing that patient perspectives are captured to improve care, were both highlighted. Participants also noted the critical importance of multidisciplinary education and training to facilitate multidisciplinary care, with the European cancer community being at the heart of the recently launched INTERACT-EUROPE project.
This year we also had the privilege of hearing from several distinguished speakers from Ukraine, who continue to battle for Ukrainian cancer patients and adapt to their needs. Now is the time to for the international community to take action to support Ukraine in its long journey of recovery and rebuilding.
In a similar spirit, the Summit could not have taken place without reflecting on the recent progress made in EU cancer policy. The European cancer care community reflected on how the EU’s New Innovation Agenda and other legislative and policy instruments, (such as the European Health Data Space, the Beating Cancer Plan, and the Mission on Cancer), act as catalysts to building back better.
We have the opportunity to inspire and empower the health workforce of tomorrow. The Summit was an occasion to reflect on the perspective of young cancer professionals. Participants noted the importance of ensuring diversity and inclusion in cancer care, not only for patients and health care professionals (HCPs), but for all in the cancer care community.
The Summit also highlighted how the Pharmaceutical Strategy can provide the momentum and tools to drive health systems and treatment optimisation across Europe, while keeping relevant stakeholders involved in the process. The opportunities that greater pan-European collaboration can offer were highlighted by participants, including the need to eliminate cancers caused by HPV, and to ensure male cancers receive the same attention and visibility as female cancers.
This year’s Summit would not have been complete without acknowledging the proven benefits of new, emerging, and interconnected technologies. With the European Health Data Space heading towards implementation, the collaboration, and trust among key stakeholders, was highlighted by many participants.
The Summit ended with the launch of the National and European Parliamentarians for Cancer Action. This year’s Summit focused on some of the most pressing topics in Europe, not only in the domain of cancer care, but beyond to the broader challenges of society faces, including the recovery and rebuilding from Covid-19, the economic downturn, and the war in Ukraine. It is impossible to discuss improving cancer care in Europe without addressing these global issues, which haver such significant impact on cancer services across Europe.
Everything that the European Cancer Organisation does is a reflection of member priorities. As such, during this year’s Summit, we reflected on what brings us together, and our common mission of delivering effective and equitable cancer care.
Read the full report here to discover the rich and diverse discussions from the 14 sessions of this year’s Summit, attended by 300 delegates in person, and more than 300 online.