European Cancer Organisation

NEWS: The 2020s: Europe’s potential decade of leadership on cancer

Article by Prof Philip Poortmans, ECCO President (2018/2019) 


I am confident that 2019 is going to be remembered as an exciting year in the history of our international efforts against cancer, not least because of the start of the new EU Cancer Mission.

At ECCO we were thrilled to hear the news that the esteemed Professor Harald zur Hausen has been appointed to chair this Mission. His pioneering research on cancer of the cervix, and discovery of the role of papilloma viruses, were rightly acknowledged with the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008. He is the kind of visionary expert required to galvanise and oversee the coordination effort ahead.

As mentioned in my last Cancer World editorial, as well as in the recent special edition of the Tumori Journal on this subject, at a political level the EU Cancer Mission should also have a secondary aim of reinspiring citizens with an understanding of the exciting milestones we can achieve when combining efforts across countries towards precise goals.

In the field of cancer we are now fortunate to have a range of achievable targets that could be pursued officially across all health systems, including, but not limited to:

  • the European Cancer Concord 70:35 vision of achieving 70% long-term survival for cancer patients by 2035; and
  • the European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe) proposed goal of halving the deaths and halving the burden of childhood cancer by 2030.

I would propose the EU Cancer Mission (and a potential accompanying EU Cancer Masterplan) should set a number of ambitious though precise goals, such as, but not limited to, those above. 

Read more in the Cancer World  Autumn 2019 issue





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