On February 3rd, 2021, the European Commission published its Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. As Rapporteur of the Special Committee on Cancer Control in the European Parliament, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir is responsible for defining the European Parliament's position on this plan. Today, the Renaissance MEP and Medical Oncologist presented her reactions and proposals to the European Commission's ambitious program.
“Cancer is a disease of social injustice. We’re uneven in terms of prevention, diagnosis, access to quality care and reintegration into normal life. This is why I fully support the creation of a Cancer Inequalities Register in order to identify challenges and specific policy areas and to guide investment at European and national level’ says the Renew Europe Deputy-Coordinator to the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
“One for our priorities is to put research, innovation and new technologies for prevention and treatment of cancer. Valid results are based on independent, cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary, highly collaborative and adequately funded research. Horizon Europe's Cancer Mission will ensure that no stage of cancer is overlooked and that all patients, regardless of age and country of origin, can benefit equally from European cancer research” reminds Véronique Trillet-Lenoir.
“More than 40% of cancer are preventable through coordinated actions on individual, social, environmental and business health determinants. The revision of the European code against cancer is the best way to inform citizens on how to reduce cancer’s risks. I am advocating ambitious legislative proposals to reduce tobacco and alcohol consumption, promote healthy eating and a regular physical activity, encourage vaccination against some cancers et warn on genetical predisposition. We also need to set clear targets for tackling environmental pollution, ensuring health and safety at work, limiting workers' exposure to carcinogens and mutagens and addressing the cumulative effect of hazardous chemicals. The European Green Deal and its “Zero pollution” and “Farm to fork” strategies should be fully integrated into the prevention component of the European cancer plan. These actions should enable us to avoid over 3 million premature deaths between 2021 and 2030” insists the MEP.
“Revising and extending European recommendations on cancer screening, a new European early cancer detection programme, establishing accreditation and certification criteria for cancer centers will reduce the significant inequalities that remain in access to quality care”, considers Véronique Trillet-Lenoir.
“In my report, I propose concrete solutions to solve the problem of access to innovative medicines that directly affect cancer drugs. Joint procurement of medicines, common price negotiations, diversification of manufacturing within the EU, close monitoring of tensions and shortages, and the creation of a strategic reserve of cancer medicines are options that the EU should rapidly consider. I also think that the future Health Emergency Response and Preparedness Authority (HERA) should anticipate, encourage, co-develop and facilitate rapid, equal and sustainable access to innovations for cancer patients, particularly in rare situations” adds the MEP.
“In a specific section on pediatric cancers, I call for a review of EU legislation on pediatric and orphan drugs by the first quarter of 2022; it should, in my opinion, aim for a 20% increase in pediatric cancer treatment” hopes Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, who adds “I also welcome the creation of a passport for cancer survivors and a European Network of Young Cancer Survivors.”
“Patient empowerment should be a strong objective of this plan. In addition to initiatives introduced by the Commission, the EU should adopt a European Charter of Rights for cancer patients at every stage of their disease, from initial diagnosis to after treatment. For instance, too many insurance companies and banks take into account medical history from people previously affected by cancer. To put an end to this “double punishment”, all 27 Member States should implement the “right to be forgotten” after a cure for cancer” considers the Member of European Parliament.
“Without an conductor, this score cannot be properly set to music. This is why I propose the creation of a European Virtual Cancer Institute to coordinate European and national actions against cancer" concludes the rapporteur.
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