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European Cancer Resolution will benefit patients and all those who treat and care for them

An initiative to combat cancer in the enlarged European Union has been adopted in a plenary session of the European Parliament today (Thursday 10 April). The adoption of the Cancer Resolution has been welcomed by ECCO the European CanCer Organisation which says that patients, and all those who care for them, will benefit if the European Commission and Member States take action on the Resolution's 40 proposals.

ECCO particularly welcomes the proposal that the Commission should revise the Clinical Trials Directive to encourage more academic research on cancer.

Professor Alexander M.M. Eggermont, the President of ECCO, said: We are particularly concerned about the impact of the Clinical Trials Directive, in its present form, on the conduct of clinical trials of cancer treatments. While well intentioned and designed to protect patients interests, we believe that it may well be having the opposite effect. It has set so many regulations in place that the cost of trials has doubled or quadrupled, making it difficult for trials to be run without funding from industry. As a consequence, the number of academically-funded trials is declining, which is bad news for any patients with rare cancers, for patients living in under-resourced countries, and for practitioners who are trying to find better combinations of existing therapies that will be more effective in treating the disease.

This is a serious and undesired effect of the Directive as it threatens academic independence and innovative cancer research and is contrary to the best interests of patients.

Other proposals in the Cancer Resolution include:

  • encouraging the establishment of multi-disciplinary oncology teams in Member States in order to improve treatments for patients and education for all healthcare professionals so that they recognise the psychosocial needs of patients;
  • calling on the Commission to ensure there is adequate funding for co-ordinated research into rare cancers and cancers that are difficult to treat;
  • calling on the Commission to set up an EU Cancer Task Force composed of members of the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament to collect and exchange best practice for prevention, screening and treatment and to provide leadership from improved cancer control in Europe;
  • urging Member States to set up statutory cancer registration so that programmes for prevention, screening, treatment and survival can be effectively evaluated;
  • calling on the Commission to encourage and support initiatives to prevent cancer through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, concentrating particularly on children and adolescents, and focusing on major risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise;
  • calling on the Commission and Member States to encourage and promote guidelines on palliative care.

Prof Eggermont said: The European Parliaments vote on the Cancer Resolution is sending an important message to the Commission and Member States that more needs to be done to improve cancer prevention and treatment in Europe.

There are wide disparities between and within individual countries in Europe in the way that cancer is dealt with and consequently in the numbers of people who develop the disease and who survive it. Where you live in Europe can have a significant effect on whether you live or die from cancer, but ECCOs mission is to uphold the right of all European cancer patients to the best possible treatment and care. We hope the Commission and Member States act upon the Cancer Resolution.


Contact: Emma Mason
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation

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