I-Com expresses its views and promotes better lifestyle policies in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan consultation

Camilla Palla

I-Com joined European Commission’s public consultation on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan in order to actively contribute to the development of a coherent, comprehensive and accessible plan for all European citizens.

In Europe, 40% of people are likely to be affected at some stage in their life by cancer. On February 4, the European Commission launched the public consultation on Europe’s Beating Cancer Action Plan in order to allow EU citizens and stakeholders to contribute and express their opinion on the best ways to address this disease. The consultation was open to citizens, patients, healthcare workers, researchers, employees in the pharmaceutical sector and policy makers. The main goal is to create a patient-centred ecosystem covering the entire cycle of the disease – from prevention and early diagnosis to treatment and quality of life of patients and survivors, guaranteeing the fairest access to high-quality cancer-related services throughout the EU.

Reducing cancer morbidity and mortality depends on the cooperation of many different actors, including citizens. Therefore, I-Com calls for public authorities and national governments to define cross-sectoral strategies, involving, not only the public system, but also the private and the non-profit sectors, with co-responsibility for the drafting and implementation of a successful prevention plan. Public authorities should develop and promote community-based programmes built on data monitoring and support the shift towards lifestyle choices that reduce the exposure to risk factors.

Among these actions, I-Com highlights the importance of implementing policies that allow people to choose better lifestyles such as improving sustainable mobility, access to green areas and community-based information programmes on proper nutrition. Moreover, a harm reduction strategy for smokers should be defined, including the use of alternative nicotine delivery products such as e-cigs. Regulation needs to balance risks and benefits with the aim of reducing smoking through the supply of behavioural support and evaluating the impact through constant monitoring.

According to I-Com a successful cancer plan should improve the quality of life of people living with cancer, while reducing its incidence and increasing the overall rate of remission. Given the growing survival rate in the EU, a successful cancer plan must be committed to risk reduction and improving daily assistance through continued efforts to decrease smoking rates by preventing the uptake of smoking and promoting cessation through harm reduction plans. In this respect, access to information concerning products and alternatives is fundamental.

I-Com will continue to monitor and contribute to the EU decision-making process towards the adoption of the European Cancer Plan through its research, policy and stakeholder engagement activities. As a follow-up to the reply to this consultation, we expect to publish, by this summer, a research paper on best practices for cancer prevention and by the autumn, I-Com is planning a series of policy events on the European Cancer Plan, including a roundtable to present and discuss the main findings of our study.


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