World Cancer Day: how thousands of lives could be saved 

Three million new cases of cancer hit Europe every year ©BELGAIMAGE/SCIENCE/SGS 

Some 1.7 million Europeans still die because of cancer every year, making it the second most common cause of death in Europe. As up to 40% of cases can be prevented, World Cancer Day on 4 February is a great occasion to remind people of how thousands of lives can be saved, namely with proper prevention, early detection, access to proper treatment and care.

Breast cancer, prostate cancer, large bowel cancer and lung cancer cancer are the deadliest, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Key risk factors for getting cancer are excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption, being overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity and exposure to carcinogens. European Code Against Cancer has come up with 12 simple tips to reduce the risk of getting cancer.

The battle against cancer is also supported by MEPs. Maria Grapini, a Romanian member of the S&D group, said at the press conference "Statement on World Cancer Day": “We know that health is a matter of national competence, but the EP is united to fight side by side with the patients. I call on all member states to follow the example of the European Commission and establish a formal table of discussion between policymakers and patients, in order to ensure that also at the national level, cancer patients’ voice is being properly heard."

Elisabetta Gardini, an Italian member of the EPP group, said: “The world is now struggling against cancer in different ways, in particular by investing in prevention, but the war is yet to be won. Millions of our fellow citizens still do not have access to basic care. In response to this emergency, more than 110 MEPs from all political parties draw attention to the European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights for the facilitation of the access to cancer care and life-saving treatments."