European health ministers have confirmed that reducing cancer inequalities across the EU remains the top priority.
Cancer was a key topic for discussion at the informal meeting of EU Ministers for Health in Brdo earlier this month. Ministers confirmed that alongside the key work on prevention, ALL cancer patients have the right to high-quality care, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, psychological and social support and palliative care.
Zofija Mazej Kukovic, the minister of health in Slovenia, which currently holds the EU presidency, highlighted the important role of the European Parliament and the EU in facilitating the exchange of experience and best practice.
Ministers expressed their political support for adopting concrete commitments to reduce the burden of cancer and confirmed that they planned to adopt formal Council Conclusions on cancer at the Health Council in June in Luxembourg.
Kukovic stressed that the forthcoming European Commission cancer control 'action plan' was necessary at both Member State and EU level.
These Council Conclusions along with the European Parliament's recent Resolution on cancer will feed into the European Commission's 'cancer action plan' expected to be published in the first half of 2009. Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou confirmed that, after having evaluated EU actions on cancer to date and the European Parliament Resolution on cancer of 10 April 2008, the Commission aims to present an integrated action plan in the coming year.