Why it matters

The proportions of cancer survivors are increasing of 3% on a yearly basis and in 2018 more than 12 million cancer survivors have been estimated in Europe.

Once the cure of cancer is declared, patients should be back to their lives, as other people of similar age and socio-demographic characteristics with no cancer diagnosis. However, returning to life in society can be challenging for several reasons. Survivors of cancer across Europe are experiencing several obstacles, in particular when looking for access to financial services, such as mortgages and insurances.

In this respect, the EU Member States as France, Belgium and Luxembourg adopted national laws, recognising a right to be forgotten for cancer survivors.

The provisions are very similar and state that in the context of insurance or loan contracts, the period beyond which no medical information relating to cancer can be collected by insurance organisms may not exceed ten years after the end of treatment or, for cancers occurring before age eighteen years of age, five years after the end of treatment. The laws also include a list of exceptions for cancers with an excellent prognosis having shorter delays to access to the right to be forgotten.

Update: Recently, the Netherlands have announced the adoption of the Right to be Forgotten, applicable by January 2021 at the latest. From September 1st, the extension of the “right to be forgotten” for 18-21-year-olds will come into force in France.

“We support the transposition of the Right to Be Forgotten legislation into Union-level legislation to prevent unfair discrimination in cancer patients’ access to financial services and their reintegration into normal life.”


Prof. Françoise Meunier

What ECPC adds

In 2020, ECPC started a new project on the Right To Be Forgotten under the supervision of Françoise Meunier. The aim of the initiative is to conduct a legal research project assessing and monitoring the discrimination that cancer survivors face in attempts to obtain a mortgage, loans and life insurances, and other financial services.

The current research extends to all EU Member States, with the aim of raising awareness, but above all assessing the conditions for a common European regulatory proposal recognising the right to be forgotten for EU citizens.

The goal of the project is to enable the European Cancer Patient Coalition to map the current situation in depth in each of the EU Member States and to identify the actions that can be put in place at EU level taking into account that “the right to be forgotten has been included in the Cancer beating Plan road map revealed by the EU Commission on February 4 ,2020.

The project is conducted by Grazia Scocca, legal expert, and coordinated under the supervision of Dr.Françoise Meunier.

If you have any questions please contact Grazia Scocca at grazia.scocca@ecpc.org or Dr.Françoise Meunier at doctormeunier@fmeunier.eu.

The Right To Be Forgotten Country Map

*For further details please visit our factsheet on the ”Right to be forgotten in the EU National Legislations” above.