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ECPC at the Expert Conference on Oncology

ECPC at the Expert Conference on Oncology

European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) was the only patient organisation to be invited to the Expert Conference on Oncology ‘’Modern Cancer Control: Saving Lives through Smart Solutions’’ organised by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 13-14 July in Brno, Czech Republic.

At the event, ECPC emphasised the need for cancer patients’ organisations to be involved in the process of establishing Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures (CCIs) at the EU level and the importance of patients being at the centre of the digital momentum.

As a way to support joint efforts to tackle the cancer burden, in addition to reinforcing the EU ambitions and objectives (Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Mission on Cancer), the event featured experts from Member States, representatives from the EU Commission and WHO, as well as representatives from the cancer patient community. The aim was for them to share knowledge and experience at the national level on key areas that need further policy developments.

The conference focused on Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures, the future of cancer registries, European Health Data Space and improving the early detection of cancer and screening schemes in the EU.

President Francesco de Lorenzo and Senior EU Affairs Manager, Dr. Adela Maghear represented ECPC as the official delegates who brought their input to the expert conference.

The outcome was a Call to Action reaffirming the strong commitment of all official delegates on the EU fight against cancer. ECPC has brought its valuable contribution to the final content of this Call to Action, in order to strengthen the need for a patient centric approach and the crucial role of patient organizations to accelerate progress and overcome obstacles in meeting the EU flagships initiatives.

ECPC’s contribution to the final document included the following key aspects:

The need for CCIs to consider defining an outreach area for each CCI, as well as the range and scope of services in the areas of prevention, cancer screening and diagnosis treatment, supportive and palliative care, survivorship, research, education and patient involvement, monitoring and evaluation of the quality of care.

- The urgency to develop CCIs in each Member State and of at least one CCI per 5 million inhabitants in larger countries and ensure access to multidisciplinary oncology services to all cancer patients.

- The integration of the recommendations and goals of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and EU Cancer Mission in the concept of the CCIs Network to ensure that innovations reach all patients across Europe.

- The European Commission should support Member States to drive forward the actions required to meet the ambitions set by EU Beating Cancer Plan, monitor closely the uptake at the national level and the progress towards the achievement of the agreed goals.

- The need for sustainable, resilient and value-based health systems that are driven by high-quality, comparable data. Such health systems consider the outcomes that matter to people and patients and are able to collect and analyse them in real time.

- The European Union should support Member States to invest more in health literacy and digital health literacy of patients and heath care professionals.

ECPC President Francesco de Lorenzo, the Czech Health Minister Vlastimil Válek, the Czech Deputy Minister of Health Jakub Dvoracek, the WHO Director of the Division of Health Programmes Nino Berdszuli, and the European Commission Team Leader of the Cancer Taskforce Matthias Schuppe discussed the final content of the Call to Action.

This will now serve as a background document for further discussion in the Informal Meeting of the Ministers of Health that will take place on 6-7 September 2022 in Prague.

At the event, ECPC also stressed the need to introduce tests for early detection of lung and prostate cancers as part of the national screening programmes and that patients’ preferences should be considered in the creation of the CCI network to be achieved by 2025. They will also continue their advocacy efforts to ensure that their recommendations will be further considered in the final conclusions of the Czech Presidency.

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