Improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through better prevention, cure and quality of life
Horizon Europe will incorporate, as a new element, research and innovation missions. One of the five missions is the Mission on Cancer. Each mission has a board of 15 experts, including a Chair, and is supported by a secretariat.
In June 2020 the interim report on the cancer mission was published. The report served as the basis for further discussion and engagement to ensure that the proposed mission is relevant and will make a real difference. At the European Research and Innovation Days in September 2020, the board of experts presented its recommendations to the Commission. Further to this, the Mission was launched in September 2021 with the publication of its implementation plan and factsheet.
The Mission on Cancer aims to improve the lives of more than 3 million people through prevention and cure, as well as support individuals and their families affected by cancer to have longer and better lives by supporting the EU's Beating Cancer Plan. Several initiatives will be established as part of the Mission, including the creation of the EU Platform UNCAN.eu by 2023, to lead to more rapid breakthroughs in understanding cancer, and the European Cancer Patient Digital Centre also by 2023, to empower patients in their care. By 2025 a network of Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures will be created, enhancing the quality of care and decreasing barriers to access of care.
In healthcare – including research, prevention, treatment, and monitoring – regional and local authorities are vital actors as they lead, promote, and financially support research and innovation agendas, while also acting as health and care providers. Regions can be key in developing effective cancer prevention strategies and optimising existing screening programmes as recommended in the mission outline. Through their ecosystem, regions are closely connected to both professionals and research centres and institutes specialised in cancer and of course, to citizens to engage them in accomplishing this mission.
In July 2020, the Health WG organised a webinar to discuss the development of the Mission on Cancer with one of the Mission Board members. Following this, in October 2020 ERRIN's Health WG developed and released a joint statement with EUREGHA calling for the regional dimension of the Mission to be clearly defined and included in its design and implementation.
Next steps: In 2021, the Health WG continues to follow the Mission closely and is looking at the opportunities for regions presented in the implementation plan.
Cancer is one of Europe’s five major societal challenges and the projection is that, without strong action, the number of diagnosed cases will increase by a fourth by 2035. Every year, 2.7 million people in the EU-27 are diagnosed with cancer. Across Europe, the possibility of receiving a timely cancer diagnosis and of surviving the disease differs considerably because of inequalities in access to knowledge, prevention, diagnostics, treatments and care. With the number of cancer diagnoses and deaths expected to increase due to ageing populations, unhealthy lifestyles, unfavourable health determinants and environmental and working conditions, these trends are at risk of being exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cancer puts immense pressure on European health systems and so the Mission on Cancer aims to offer a distinct and comprehensive approach by bringing together research, innovation and policy development.