“Although significant advances have been made in the fight against this group of diseases, cancer remains a key public health concern and a tremendous burden on EU societies,” according to the latest EU’s report on the subject . Cancer is still the second leading cause of premature death (before the age of 65), accounting for nearly 20 per cent of total cases in Europe, after the diseases of the circulatory system (50 per cent).
In 2009, the European Commission set the ambitious goal to reduce cancer incidence by 15% by 2020. On 3 February, it launched an EU-wide public consultation on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan at an event bringing together a range of stakeholders, from political leaders to health professionals and NGOs, with the aim to collect a broad range of views and identify the areas and the scope of future action.
“The success of this plan will depend on the engagement of a wide range of actors. I hope that everyone will participate fully in this process and share their invaluable expertise, experience and insight,” commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said. “We need everyone to contribute and ensure that our Plan is ambitious and far-reaching and has a concrete impact on the lives of our citizens.”
Every year, 1.3 million people die from cancer and 3.5 million new cases are diagnosed in the European Union. Indeed, mortality is decreasing thanks to better treatments.
In 2016, over 275,000 people died from lung cancer in the EU-28, one fifth of all deaths from cancer and 5.4 per cent of the total number of deaths, followed by the 157,000 people who died from colorectal cancer.
The same year, 97,000 thousand people died from breast cancer, which accounted for 15.6 per cent of all deaths from cancer among women. In Ireland, a record 5.0 per cent of deaths among women were due to this.
The World Cancer Day aims at raising public awareness of this disease and prevent unnecessary deaths through cancer prevention, explained Zuzana Bláhová, coordinator of the Czech organisation Mamma HELP. “After being diagnosed with breast cancer one’s life significantly changes. We want to comfort patients by offering a trusted place to turn to,” Bláhová added. “We are also involved in education, as self-exam plays an important role in so-called secondary breast cancer prevention. Physical examination cannot replace mammography or ultrasound examination, but should become a part of