Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – How do nurses fit in?

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – How do nurses fit in?

Posted on February 4, 2020

The EFN attends a high-level event at the European Parliament’s (EP) main hemicycle in the presence of many EU leaders and other health stakeholders. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the EU’s upcoming “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan”. This new plan aims at putting the EU and its Members States at the centre of the global fight against cancer, increasing available funds for research, prevention, early detection, palliative care and treatment.

The President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, takes the floor to explain why cancer for her is a personal matter: when she was 13 years old, she lost a sister, aged 11, due to incurable cancer. Then, she moved her speech to remind the audience and health stakeholders that 40% of the cancers are preventable – this is the area in which the EU should put the greater focus.

This idea is then picked up by the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, a cancer survivor herself, who reminded all on the need of tackling cancer from all possible angles.

This discussion links to the EFN’s advocacy work during the last few years and includes topics such as the need to ensure the continuity of caremoving care back to the community, and patient empowerment. Nurses are very well equipped to do all these, as well as by accompanying cancer patients through all the stages of their disease: from detection to treatment, and then life after cancer or palliative care.

Some cancer survivor from the civil society are present in the room, too – including Victor Girbu, a recently graduated lawyer, who explains how his first diagnose of cancer came when he was just 7 months old. He has been living with the disease ever since, but deeply regrets that EU Directive on Patients’ Rights in Cross-border Healthcare has not been rightly transposed in many EU countries. The EFN has also published some work on the latter and continues advocating for its right and full transposition across all EU countries.

Finally, many speakers said during the event that the health inequalities across EU countries remain unacceptably high and that this is something to be tackled at the EU level.