Hellenic Cancer Federation ELLOK unites with ECO to promote Greece’s role in the fight against cancer - Press Release

01 February 2024

Time To Accelerate: Together Against Cancer – In Greece and Across Europe


Ahead of World Cancer Day, the Hellenic Cancer Federation ELLOK unites with the European Cancer Organisation to promote Greece’s role in the fight against cancer.


1 February, AthensIn Greece, 27% of deaths are caused by cancer. That's far higher than the EU average of 18%.  There is a compelling need to address disparities and improve cancer care – in Greece and elsewhere in Europe. While the country’s health policies have improved, leading cancer experts are calling for more to be done to ensure fair access to quality care.

The latest data gathered by ECO's European Cancer Pulse, an online visualisation tool, reveal:

  • Greece is helping to achieve the EU goal of eliminating HPV cancer. Both girls and boys are now eligible for the HPV vaccine, protecting them against all cancers caused by HPV infection, including cervical, and head and neck cancers.
  • 80.2% of women in Greece (aged 20-69) have self-reported a cervical smear test in the last 3 years. This is above the EU average of 70.8%.
  • However, only 13.2% of people aged 50-74 have self-reported their last colorectal cancer screening in the last three years. This is far below the EU average of 40.5%. 
  • Greece has not updated its national cancer plan since 2015 and there is no fully operational national cancer registry.

To help spur progress, ELLOK and ECO have collaborated to produce the Time to Accelerate: Together Against Cancer Manifesto. ELLOK and ECO are asking all candidates for the 2024 European elections to endorse the manifesto recommendations.

Find out more here: https://www.europeancancer.org/manifesto

‘Evidence-led cancer policy is a shared passion of the European Cancer Organisation and ELLOK,’ said Prof. Andreas Charalambous, past-president of ECO.

‘This highlights why we are collaborating this week to promote the European Cancer Pulse Country Report for Greece and the Time to Accelerate Manifesto to Greece’s government and all candidates for the European Parliament elections. We congratulate Greece on its efforts to eliminate HPV cancers by vaccinating boys and girls and for its continuing overall efforts on national cancer control. Evidence shows that such coordinated efforts in the fight against cancer make an impact and for this reason we emphasise the need for all countries in Europe to have national cancer plans and cancer registries, and to tackle the cancer workforce crisis.’

‘Today, ELLOK and ECO share our common vision for a Europe without inequalities in cancer care,’ added ELLOK President, George Kapetanakis.

‘In a landmark year, with the European elections just around the corner, we collaborate to achieve convergence and ask for the commitment of MEP candidates, and also of all politicians, for the implementation of cancer policies, following the values championed by the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, that will continue the effort to increase survival and quality of life for cancer patients. Investing in the European perspective as the only way forward, we highlight good practices and simultaneously focus on the need to speed up the necessary interventions and adjustments to achieve progress in lagging areas.’

Fair and equal access to quality cancer care is a timely issue with this week’s World Cancer Day on 4 February and the upcoming European Elections in June.

Published in November, the ‘Time to Accelerate: Together Against Cancer’ European Cancer Manifesto provides key recommendations for future cancer policy across the EU.

Key recommendations include: 

  • A minimum age for tobacco sales of 21 years old (‘tobacco 21’) to achieve a European tobacco-free generation. 
  • Initiatives to eliminate vaccine-preventable cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B (HBV): 
  1. Annual monitoring and reporting 
  2. Free HBV vaccination, as part of national healthcare coverage 
  3. Increased HBV vaccination coverage for newborns, children, and high-risk groups 
  • To fulfil the commitments of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, fresh action is needed to: 
  1. raise awareness of the EU Council Recommendations on national screening; 
  2. ensure regular public reports on implementing the recommendations;
  3. publicise successful screening policies and outcomes; and 
  4. implement projects at regional, national, and international levels to help countries achieve the recommendations.
  • The European Union and every Member State must address the cancer workforce crisis:
  1. Political agreements are needed to tackle the problem, which is a threat to health system resilience. 2.
  2. The cause of shortages in the healthcare workforce must be addressed, including working conditions; and the wellbeing of healthcare professionals must be safeguarded.  
  • All countries should have a fully operational national cancer plan and national cancer registry to ensure everyone receives quality cancer care and to improve data collection on social inequalities and patient ethnicity. 
  • Legal protections must be provided to Cancer survivors so that they are not required to declare their cancer to financial service providers.

Representing 46 member organisations from across Greece, the Hellenic Cancer Federation advocates for all types of cancer. Its vision is comprehensive, timely and affordable care for all cancer patients, without any discrimination, ensuring excellent diagnosis, treatment, psycho-social support, and rehabilitation, as well as reintegration into social life. ELLOK's primary goal is to inform and empower its members so that they can participate actively in the shaping of health policies. 

About the European Cancer Organisation

The European Cancer Organisation is the largest multi-professional cancer organisation in Europe. It aims to reduce the burden of cancer, improve outcomes and the quality of care for cancer patients, through a multi-discipline and multi-professional approach. As a not-for-profit federation of member organisations, the European Cancer Organisation convenes oncology 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:

Richard Delahay

Communication Officer

European Cancer Organisation


+32 2 775 02 00