21st JANUARY 2020
On Monday 20th January 2020, the delegation from the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) was invited to the European Commission to meet the new Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and the European Cancer Plan team. It has been a great opportunity for ECPC President Kathi Apostolidis, ECPC Past President Prof. Francesco de Lorenzo, Dr. Françoise Meunier, member of ECPC Scientific Committee and ECPC Director Antonella Cardone to brief the Commissioner on the significant role that cancer patients can play on shaping Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
ECPC assured the Health Commissioner that we will continue to maintain the excellent relationship with the European Commission. The fruitful meeting on the other hand ensured us that the European Commission will consult and exchange with stakeholders at all levels, including, of course, ECPC.
Commissioner Stella Kyriakides explained that the purpose of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is not to reinvent the wheel, but rather to ‘join the dots’ that already exist, and, by means of the consultation period, to find out where the Commission can have the best impact on European Cancer patients and survivors. The Commission also asked to be updated on ECPC’s research into social disparities and other data on the social situation in Europe.
The consultation period of the European Beating Cancer Plan will be opened on World Cancer Day, on 4th February, with the plan itself expected in November.
“We handed over to the Health Commissioner our recommendations for the European Cancer Plan. These include our call for the Comprehensive Cancer Care Networks (CCCNs) which would be distributed across the EU to serve no more than one million citizens each. We believe that CCCNs are the backbone of a well-functioning plan,” said the ECPC President Kathi Apostolidis.
“ECPC also asked the Commissioner to include European Reference Networks (ERNs) into the Plan to ensure the highest quality of healthcare provided to cancer patients. Furthermore, we call for a long-term follow-up for recovered cancer patients as some fundamental aspects – such as psychological support, nutritional rehabilitation and monitoring of the financial toxicity – that can allow to ‘cured’ citizens to return to a normal life aren’t yet considered,” added Prof. Francesco de Lorenzo.
In addition, ECPC stressed that the one of the most important achievements of the Plan must be to tackle social inequalities. “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,” said Prof. Françoise Meunier who is leading the Right to Be Forgotten project within the Social Disparities working group of ECPC.
About the European Cancer Patient Coalition
European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) is the voice of cancer patients in Europe. With over 450 members, ECPC is Europe’s largest umbrella cancer patients’ association, covering all 28 EU member states and many other European and non-European countries. ECPC represents patients aﬀected by all types of cancers, from the rarest to the most common.
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You can download ECPC’s Policy Recommendations for the European Cancer Plan here.