The age of cancer: February 2021 saw the release of the ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’ by the European Commission. With cancer poised to become the EU’s leading cause of death by 2035 and with treatment and survival rates varying dramatically between Member States and societal groups, how should the EU ensure equal access to cancer treatment?

Submitted by: Mees Dijkman, Minna El-Shaikh, Floor Faber, Ciana Kokos, Willem Kribbe, Melody Rampersad, Emilia Vocke, Steven Voerknecht, Nina Tsoutsanis (Chairperson, NL)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Alarmed by reports predicting a rise of cancer incidence by over 24% by 2035,
  2. Concerned by the discrepancies regarding cancer diagnosis and survival rates that exist between:
    1. Member States,
    2. socioeconomic groups,
    3. racial groups, 
  3. Deeply concerned by the inacessibility of certain cancer treatments in some Member States due to:
    1. delays in national approvals of said treatments despite approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA),
    2. the lack of insurance coverage of said treatments,
  4. Pointing out the different levels of governmental investment in healthcare within the EU,
  5. Recognising that occupational exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens, for example in the agricultural sector, is a key driver of cancer incidences,
  6. Noting with regret the prevalence of discrimination against cancer patients by employers,
  7. Conscious of the potential threat to patient privacy posed by large data-gathering operations, such as the European Commission’s Knowledge Centre on Cancer;

  1. Asks Member States to implement more efficient cancer testing by regularly inviting high-risk groups, such as women with increased risk for breast cancer, to check-ups;
  2. Requests research institutes and pharmaceutical developers through the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) to have more balanced research samples, particularly regarding marginalised communities; 
  3. Calls upon the European Commission to further implement the new Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, by implementing the EU regulation1This regulation on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) helps governments determine the value and fair market price of a medication. on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) to reduce discrepancies in pricing between Member States;
  4. Seeks the European Commission to reallocate funds from EU4Health towards improving Member States’ health systems of lower quality in regard to cancer treatment;
  5. Recommends Member States facilitate cross-border cancer treatment;
  6. Encourages all Member States to fully cover cancer treatment for its inhabitants;
  7. Suggests the Knowledge Centre on Cancer cooperate with Member States and other research facilities to centralise cancer research and information within the EU;
  8. Invites the European Commission to:
    1. allocate funds towards European research institutes,
    2. facilitate research towards the impacts of occupational exposure on cancer incidences;
  9. Requests the Knowledge Centre on Cancer create occupational exposure guidelines based on the previous research, focusing on guidelines surrounding materials and safe working conditions, like sufficient ventilation;
  10. Reminds the Member States to ensure cancer patients’ full protection against workplace discrimination;
  11. Urges the Knowledge Centre on Cancer to, together with the European Commission, strictly implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in their databases and the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.