ReThink Health

East-West inequalities in cancer, the turning point of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, can only be solved in Eastern Europe. In Bucharest, Sofia, Vilnius, Riga, Belgrade, Pristina or Chisinau, not elsewhere. European funds must follow this reality.

We must have the courage to express our needs, but also to explain and describe our strengths based on a deep understanding of local realities.

No one knows better than us what needs to be done, although it is true that we have to learn from Western partners how to implement it.

We must take our place at the table of decisions, influencing prioritization of European funds and implementing the necessary reforms.

Innovation, understood in oncology primarily as personalized medicine, must reduce these inequalities.

The implementation of innovation (from prevention and screening to diagnosis and treatment) without innovating in implementation will lead not to the reduction, but to increasing inequalities.

In Romania, we have done our job in terms of cancer policy: the National Plan was launched by the President Klaus Iohannis in January, the Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said yesterday that “the implementation of the Plan will make us move to personalized medicine”, and there is political consensus in Parliament necessary to approve the Cancer Law (which today entered the straight line of submission for debate).

No other European country has such an alignment at the highest level, endorsed by the professional environment and civil society.

We have enough arguments to consider Romania a model for real-time translating European cancer policies (including Cancer Mission) into national policies; I am confident we can promote this model of collaboration without hesitation, with confidence and pride.

This is the synthesis of my today’s (May, 31, 2022) speech at the high-level meeting organized in the Romanian Parliament by Senator Nicoleta Pauliuc, the initiator of 3 laws (so far) for the benefit of cancer survivors.

East-West divide in cancer
Image from the event – May, 31, 2022
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