Conference – Equity, excellence and innovation: modern cancer care for all, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – eradicating inequalities within cancer care

EONS Board Member Nikolina Dodlek reports

EONS Board member Nikolina Dodlek addresses a question to the conference
Dr Lena Sharp and others discuss the PrEvCan campaign with high-level health representatives of the EU

To mark World Cancer Day 2023, the European Commission together with the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union held a high-level, hybrid conference on 1 February 2023 in Stockholm, entitled Equity, excellence, and innovation – modern cancer care for all: Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – eradicating inequalities within cancer care. The agenda focussed on three main areas which are at the heart of the Plan: prevention, early detection, and the conditions for data-driven cancer care.

Swedish Minister for Health Care, Ms Acko Ankarberg Johansson , European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Ms Stella Kyriakides, WHO Regional Director Europe, Dr Hans Kluge and Principal Deputy Director, National Cancer Institute, Dr Douglas Lowy, together with the Spanish Minister of Health, Ms Carolina Darias San Sebastián, warmly welcomed the participants, stakeholders, patients, patient representatives. They emphasised that the aim of Health Union is to reinforce coordination at EU level to build healthier, more resilient and more sustainable societies for the future.

After opening remarks, the next session addressed patient testimonials. Dr Alberto Costa, Special Adviser to the European Commissioner for Health and  Food Safety on cancer policy, welcomed Ana Amariutei from Young Cancer Europe and Mia Rajalin from Vision Zero Cancer and Lung Cancer Association, emphasising late detection, late diagnosis and no access to modern treatments for patients in minority groups and low-income countries. Mrs Amariutei stated that all cancer survivors tend to escape from the past, but there is no other way than to live for the future.

A comprehensive approach to cancer prevention – tackling cancer through precision health and innovative solutions to increase early detection and eliminate inequalities were also discussed in other sessions. Important presentations on different projects covered:

  • European Cancer Imaging Initiative
  • Improved access to cancer diagnostics with the help of artificial intelligence
  • Accelerating cancer research with the help of artificial intelligence and European Health Data Space: boosting data driven cancer care.

EONS had been invited to participate in the session on data-driven cancer, asking a question of all the panel participants on health data – a key to modern and equitable cancer care.

EONS Board member Nikolina Dodlek, representing EONS at the event, raised the importance  of addressing still unmet needs in the area of cultivating an environment where nurses and all other healthcare professionals have the opportunity to utilise and uptake technological solutions towards providing quality cancer care.

Panellists John F. Ryan, Deputy Director General for Health  and Director for Public Health, Marco Marsella from the European Commission, Head of Unit, eHealth and Prof. Nikolaus Rajewsky, Scientific and Founding Director Berlin Institute for Medical  Systems Biology, provided several possible innovations and ideas that could help improve patient outcomes and the quality of care, such as e-health activities, emphasising that time and education would be necessary to ensure nurses and other healthcare professionals would to be able to participate in ensuring precise data could contribute to the best possible cancer care outcomes.

EONS Past President Dr Lena Sharp was present at the Conference representing the ongoing EONS campaign PrEvCan addressing the need for cancer prevention and early detection.

ECO President and EONS Board member Dr Andreas Charalambous also participated online, asking a question on insights on the behavioural components to achieve success in cancer prevention.