MEP Victor Negrescu drew the European Commission’s attention to the situation of children with cancer and the need for equal access to treatment in the EU

Social Democrat MEP Victor Negrescu sent to the European Commission a question with written answer, at the beginning of June, about the discrepancies at the European level regarding access to state-of-the-art cancer treatments for young patients.

He pointed out that in Romania, the average survival rate for children diagnosed with cancer is 69.1%, 10% below the Western European average.

“Unfortunately, the medical technology available in our country, as well as in many countries with limited financial resources, does not make it possible to properly treat cancer and use the most innovative methods and treatments that could save the lives of many children affected by this relentless disease”, said MEP Victor Negrescu.

In this context, Romania’s representative in the European Parliament asked the European executive about the measures it adopted to provide adequate treatment opportunities for all children with cancer in the European Union, as well as the actions planned by the institution to promote these measures.

In response to his question, the Commission outlined the initiatives at the EU level in support of pediatric cancer patients, mentioning Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, with an allocated budget of €4 billion, which addresses cancer issues from a holistic perspective – from prevention, early detection and treatment to quality of life. Several of the initiatives included in the Plan focus specifically on pediatric cancer, including:

  • “Helping Children with Cancer Initiative” to ensure that children have access to early and optimal screening, diagnosis, treatment and care;
  • the establishment of an “EU Network of Youth Cancer Survivors”;
  • the ”Childhood cancers and cancers in adolescents and young adults’ initiative” to increase understanding of pediatric cancer.

In addition, a ”Cancer Survivor Smart Card” was launched to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, including children and young cancer survivors, by disseminating best practices on issues such as psychosocial support. More attention will be paid to mental health challenges through EU projects funded under the EU4Health 2023 work programme and a European Code for Mental Health will be developed.

The updated version of the European Cancer Information System also includes a new section on childhood cancers to monitor progress and future needs in cancer control at EU and national level.

Finally, the Commission recalled that it had tabled a reform of EU pharmaceutical legislation, including proposals to ensure better and faster access to medicines and to support innovation, particularly in areas where treatments are not available, for example for rare and pediatric cancers.

It is estimated that there are more than 12 million cancer survivors in Europe, including around 300,000 survivors of childhood cancer, thanks to advances in early detection, effective therapies and supportive treatment.

To this end, MEP Victor Negrescu has pointed that he will continue to raise the most important issues at the European level.

“Our team is not about making the headlines but about finding solutions. Do not hesitate to write to us and let us know about the issues you want us to raise at the European level”, said the Social Democrat MEP.

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