The EPP Group wants European countries to work together to reduce the number of deaths caused by childhood and rare cancers. Today, the European Parliament’s Special Committee for Beating Cancer, which was set up on the initiative of the EPP Group, will debate strategies on how to do so.
“Childhood cancer is still the main cause of death by disease in children aged one year and over. Over 15,500 children and adolescents were diagnosed with cancer last year in the EU and more than 2000 young patients died of it. We must urgently bring these numbers down”, said Cindy Franssen MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokeswoman for cancer-related issues, ahead of today’s hearing in the Special Committee. Franssen explained that rare cancers share similar problems concerning diagnosis and treatment because of their rarity. “Patients have difficulties in accessing timely and accurate diagnosis, highly specialised care and adequate treatments. All across Europe, healthcare systems face challenges such as poor research opportunities, difficulties in clinical trials – especially for adolescents and young adults – and a lack of therapies in general. But if we work together, we can make sure every patient, regardless of their age or where they come from, gets equal and timely access to early diagnosis, and we can shift this trend. Your chances of survival should not be based on where you were born”, added Franssen. “Europe really can be an added value in fighting rare cancers. By encouraging innovation to address unmet needs, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will ensure that patients across Europe will access high-quality treatment and new therapies when they need them. It will also make available and affordable essential medicines for cancer patients across the EU, for example through joint procurement”, concluded Franssen.