The European Commission co-funded Fighting Against Cancer Today (FACT) project has published Responding to the challenge of cancer in Europe.
Edited by Professor Michel Coleman, Professor Delia-Marina Alexe and Professor Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Dr Tit Albreht, Adviser to the Director of the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia, the book is a comprehensive piece of work aiming to cover all aspects of cancer control ranging from prevention to palliative care. In addition to assessing existing practices and polices on cancer, the publication provides recommendations on the way forward in cancer control across the EU.
The closing chapter, 'Making progress against cancer' by the editors and Professor Jose M Martin Moreno of the University of Valencia, summarises some key points highlighted in the book:
- There is significant variability in the delivery of services for the prevention and treatment of cancer and in the outcomes achieved, both within and between Member States;
- Much can be done to enhance equitable access to prevention and treatment within Europe;
- An integrated strategy for cancer control should cover primary prevention, secondary prevention, integrated care, including effective diagnostics and drugs, and research;
- It is important to maintain the focus on cancer patients;
- A key requirement for successful cancer control is the development of national cancer plans;
- The EU should facilitate shared learning and information exchange.
The book was published just ahead of the EU Slovenian Presidency cancer conference 'The Burden of Cancer - How Can it be Reduced?' which took place last month in Brdo, Slovenia. The high-level event brought together EU policymakers, Member State representatives and representatives of international organisations as well as patient- and professional groups.
Speakers included Mr Markos Kyprianou, EU Commissioner for Health, Ms Zofija Mazej Kukovic, Slovenian Minister of Health and leading experts in the cancer field.
The conference focused on the patient angle with an emphasis on the need for an integrated approach to address prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation, palliative care and research.
The EU-level discussions are set to continue at the EU Health Council meeting on 17-18 April in Brdo. Following this, the Presidency will draw up Council Conclusions on Cancer to be submitted for adoption by the Council of Ministers at the EU Health Council meeting in Luxembourg on 9-10 June. According to Dr Marija Seljak, Director General of Public Health at the Slovenian Ministry of Health speaking at the conference, the Presidency aims to set clear conclusions that bind EU Health Ministers to take concrete actions. Dr Seljak stated that reducing the cancer burden relies on a holistic approach covering all aspects of cancer control.