Covid-19 has become during the last year the main headache in health matters of the European Commission that recognizes the serious effects that the pandemic has had in the fight against other serious diseases such as cancer, interrupting treatments, postponing diagnoses and tests. Collateral damage whose repercussions could be extremely serious in the coming years. Without conclusive action, the Commission points out, cancer cases could skyrocket 25% by 2035, with a global economic impact in Europe that will exceed 100,000 million euros per year.
In this context the new action plan adopted this Wednesday by the Community Executive to improve prevention, treatment and care against cancer. “In 2020 we lost 1.3 million Europeans due to this disease and unfortunately the number of cases is increasing,” the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warned this Wednesday, putting the accent on pediatric cancers. According to the Commission’s estimates, there were 2.7 million more people diagnosed with cancer last year.
Faced with this disease, Brussels proposes a plan, endowed with 4,000 million euros from the European budget, mainly through the Horizon and health programs, which will revolve around four main pillars. The first of these will be prevention with the implementation of measures to combat risk factors such as dangerous substances, environmental pollution, dangerous consumption of alcohol or tobacco. The objective in this area: to ensure that less than 5% of the population consumes tobacco by 2040 (compared to the current 25% average) by tightening the regulation of tobacco products and reviewing their taxation, among other measures.
In this ambit The objective of preventing cancers linked to infections through vaccination is also framed raising the percentage of vaccinated girls to 90% and significantly increasing that of boys by 2030 and promoting physical activity and healthy diets. The second major pillar of the strategy will be aimed at improving early detection of cancers through greater and more equal access to diagnostic tests so that 90% of the population who qualify for cancer screening tests breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer are screened by 2025.
The third scope of work will focus on diagnosis and treatment for better integrated and comprehensive cancer care while addressing unequal access to quality care and medicines. In this area, Brussels’ goal is for 90% of eligible patients to have access to comprehensive national cancer centers connected through an EU network by 2030. The plan also includes the launch of a new initiative this year to help improve access to diagnosis and treatment innovation, an initiative to help identify those most at risk for common cancers. The final focus of the action plan will be on the adoption of measures to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their follow-up.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.