Fighting cancer is one of the EU’s health priorities. Find out more in our infographics.
Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. In the EU 40% of cancer cases are preventable and there are an estimated 12 million cancer survivors. Research and innovation on cancer has always been one of the EU’s health priorities.
EU cancer statistics
Nearly three million people were newly diagnosed with cancer and 1.27 million people died from cancer in the EU in 2020. This makes cancer the second leading cause of mortality after cardiovascular diseases.
However, innovative treatment and better access to care means many Europeans now survive longer after being diagnosed with cancer.
- Europe represents less than 10% of the world’s population, but accounts for 25% of all cancer cases
- Differences in cancer survival rates across EU countries exceed 25%
- Almost 75% of all cancer diagnoses in the EU are in people aged 60 or above
Covid pandemic impact on cancer treatment
Covid-19 has had an impact on cancer cases. An estimated 100 million screening tests were not performed in Europe during the pandemic and an estimated one million cancer cases were undiagnosed. One in five cancer patients did not receive the surgical or chemotherapy treatment they needed on time
There is also potentially good news. The mRNA technology behind some of the Covid-19 vaccines might prove efficient in future drugs against cancer, preliminary studies suggest.
EU measures to fight cancer
The EU is investing in various activities such as research projects, clinical trials and training programmes.