New Manifesto Highlights Opportunities for Accelerated EU Cancer Action - Launch Press Release

15 November 2023

Eliminating vaccine preventable cancers, achieving a tobacco free generation, and addressing the cancer workforce crisis would make EU a global leader in public health.

15 November, BrusselsAhead of next year’s European Parliamentary elections, the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) unveiled a new Manifesto entitled ‘Time to Accelerate: Together Against Cancer’. It contains a raft of insights and recommendations from experts in cancer care and policy from across the continent. The launch took place during the annual European Cancer Summit, with national and European politicians in attendance, including EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides.

"Saluting the early achievements of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the Manifesto sets out the European cancer community’s vision for how these foundations can be boldly built upon," said ECO President Andreas Charalambous. "Together, we can accelerate Europe’s policy action against cancer and give every cancer patient access to high quality cancer care."

The recommendations reflect experiences and perspectives from an extraordinary five-year period in EU cancer policy, marked by substantial attention and investment through both Europe's Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Research Mission on Cancer. ECO salutes Member States and the European Commission for their commitment to these initiatives.

Among the many organisations and politicians already endorsing the Manifesto are: Alessandra Moretti MEP, Tomislav Sokol MEP and Patrizia Toia MEP.

ECO and its member societies believe this new era of cross-border cooperation in cancer care must not be overshadowed by the rush towards new agendas and mandates after next year's European elections. The seeds sown by the current Commission and parliaments must be nurtured to full growth.

The European Cancer Pulse: evidence-based decision-making

Also announced on 15 November, a second version of the European Cancer Pulse data visualisation tool is now live with a range of new features and statistics. The online platform allows anyone to see at a glance the various cancer inequalities between and within European countries. Going beyond the EU-27 countries, it collates data on inequalities in cancer care from across the WHO European Region.

Equipped with a new country comparison mode and customisable data visualisations, the tool provides the evidence basis to the European Cancer Manifesto, allowing all to benchmark national progress towards EU cancer policy goals and identify where progress is most needed to reduce cancer inequalities across and within European countries.

"Truly understanding disparities and gaps in cancer care requires the latest evidence and information," said Mark Lawler, Professor of Digital Health at Queen's University Belfast, ECO Board Member and Scientific Lead of ECO's European Cancer Pulse initiative. "Our data do not lie. The European Cancer Pulse helps to identify the most urgent areas for policy action to help cancer patients overcome the disparities that persist in many European countries." 

Both the European Cancer Pulse and European Cancer Manifesto for 2024 are available on the European Cancer Organisation’s website.

Key recommendations from the Manifesto

  • A minimum age for tobacco sales of 21 (‘tobacco 21’) to underpin the achievement of a tobacco free generation.
  • Monitoring HPV vaccine uptake via the ECDC, as practiced for Covid-19 vaccination.
  • Promotion of the EU cancer screening recommendations at national level, implementation funding, and regular reporting on their levels of implementation.
  • Extend and increase support for twinning of cancer centres as part of achieving an EU Network of Comprehensive Cancer Centres.
  • Ensuring a fit for purpose European Health Data Space with stakeholders embedded in the governance and risks of over-regulation on data consent (secondary purposes) avoided.
  • All cancer registries in Europe to improve data collection in respect of social inequalities, including information on patient ethnicity.
  • A legal right in all countries for cancer survivors’ to not have to declare their cancer to financial service providers.

Key facts identified by the European Cancer Pulse*

  • Marginalised communities report being subjected to discrimination during healthcare, including:
    • 9% of people with African descent
    • 16% of people in the LGBTI+ community
    • 39% of transgender people
  • Large disparities in HPV prevention policy exist across Europe.
  • Mixed success in implementing EU-recommended cancer screening: colorectal cancer screening participation rates range from 71.3% in the Netherlands to 16.7% in North Macedonia.
  • Slow progress in implementing the Right to be Forgotten for cancer survivors when accessing financial services: only seven European countries have implemented legal frameworks and three are under discussion.
  • Female researchers account for only 34% of senior author positions in cancer research. However, eastern Europe leads the way when it comes to female senior researchers.

*For sources, please check

About the European Cancer Organisation 

The European Cancer Organisation is the largest multi-professional cancer organisation in Europe. It helps reduce the burden of cancer, improve outcomes, and enhance the quality of care for cancer patients. As the not-for-profit federation of member organisations working across Europe, the European Cancer Organisation convenes cancer professionals and patients to agree on policy, advocate for change, and speak up for the European cancer community. More information is available here.

For more information, please contact

Alvaro Jimber
Communication Officer
European Cancer Organisation
+32 465 64 25 73