European Parliament Endorses the Final Report of the BECA Special Committee

February 23, 2022
European Parliament Endorses the Final Report of the BECA Special Committee

On Wednesday February 16, The European Parliament voted to endorse the report of its Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) ‘REPORT on strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy’. This brings the work of this Committee to a close and with it, hopefully, a new period of implementation where plans are turned into reality, bringing real health benefits to all European citizens.

“We’re heartened by the way forward set out in this report. It is both fuel and backing for our continued work in our public education and advocacy work,” says Zorana Maravic, DiCE CEO. “But experience has shown that these recommendations are only as good as their implementation. As such, we will be monitoring developments and working with all relevant stakeholders at the European level, but more importantly with our Member Organisations at national level, to build momentum and push for action so that fewer patients suffer from cancer, and lives are saved.”

BECA Committee – Some Key Recommendations

Early in 2021, the Parliament established a Special Committee to supervise the BECA Plan. In the past year, it organised several public hearings, published surveys and drafted an official response to the plan in the form of a “REPORT on strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy”. It represents the consensus position of the EU’s elected representatives on a range of cancer policy actions. Key recommendations put forward by the Special Committee on Beating Cancer include:

  • Facilitating access to cross-border health care and clinical trials for cancer patients
  • Extending the use of joint procurement procedures, managing shortages of cancer medicines
  • Guaranteeing the “Right to be Forgotten” as well as ensuring equal access to innovative cancer drugs and treatments

The report also includes recommendations on screening and early detection (to be found in paragraphs 47 to 61), some of the highlights the European Parliament is calling for are:

  • The expansion of the EU’s Cancer Screening scheme to other cancers beyond breast, colorectal and cervical cancer;
  • The Commission will evaluate the results of the cancer screening scheme every two years concentrating specifically on the equal access of the target population
  • The Commission will report and monitor the achievement of screening targets in the Cancer Inequalities Registry
  • Member States are to establish research programmes into, and the development of, effective, accurate, non-invasive and innovative early diagnosis methods, such as biomarkers, for different types of cancer
  • The Commission and the Member States are to fully implement the European guidelines for quality assurance in cancer screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers
  • The launch of an EU platform for national screening centres by the Commission and the Member States

The European Parliament has also provided its view on survivorship and follow up care (please find it in the paragraph 110 to 127) including asking that:

  • The European Commission sets up a platform for the exchange of best practices in palliative care and to support research on palliative care
  • Member States develop recommendations for incorporating clinical nutrition into all aspects of cancer care, including treatment, support and research
  • The Commission and the Member States develop minimum standards for continuous training on nutritional care for the multidisciplinary workforce and nutrition management be an integral and ethical part of all clinical research involving cancer patients.

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Catie Young

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