Beating Cancer Inequalities in the EU – An OECD Report Summary

March 22, 2024

Cancer is a significant health problem in Europe. It is estimated that every 5 minutes, a person is diagnosed with a type of cancer. It is expected that by 2035, cancer will be the leading cause of death in Europe. For this reason, on the eve of World Cancer Day, the OECD launched a report to explore the policies and actions needed to stop cancer.  

Cancer affects people differently depending on where they live and their lifestyle choices. While in some countries, there are fewer people dying from cancer, it’s still a main cause of death across Europe. The report describes differences in cancer care both between countries and within countries. The hope is to reduce these gaps in access to healthcare so that cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment are improved. The report focuses on tackling preventable risk factors (behaviours in our lives that we can modify by changing our habits) and attending screening for an earlier diagnosis. Unhealthy habits like smoking, a bad diet, and lack of exercise, along with environmental factors, play a big role in causing cancer, especially for those with lower incomes and men. 

Preventing cancer is important, but not enough money is spent on it. Screening tests can help find cancer early, but not everyone gets them. We need better ways to reach out to people and let them know about these tests and have easier access to them. For example, for colorectal cancer (CRC), getting regular screening is effective for early detection and improving the chances of survival. 

Overall, we need to do more to prevent cancer and make sure everyone can get screened and treated on time. This means investing in prevention, improving access to screening tests, and closing the gap in access to healthcare. 

Laura Urena

In order to facilitate the use of our website, we use cookies.

Please confirm if you accept our tracking cookies. When declining the cookies, you can continue visiting the website without sending data to third party services. Read our complete cookie statement here.