Parliament has joined the global Gold September campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer by lighting up its Brussels building in gold on 1-6 September. Every year, more than 35,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in Europe. Although the average survival rate at five years is 80%, there are significant differences between European countries due to unequal access to the best care and expertise.
Leukaemia appears to be the most frequent and most lethal cancer in children, accounting for more than 30% of new cases and deaths per year.
Fighting cancer is a priority for the EU. In June, the European Parliament set up a special committee to look at how the EU can take concrete measures to help beat cancer.
The possibility of improving quality of life for patients and families;
scientific knowledge on prevention and specific action on tobacco, obesity, alcohol, pollution etc;
how to support research into prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood and rare cancers, where an EU approach offers the best chance of success;
early detection and screening programmes;
how to support non-profit clinical trials, and;
possible EU action to facilitate the transparency of treatment prices to improve affordability and access.
Polish EPP member Ewa Kopacz, who is the Parliament coordinator on children’s rights, said: “While we should strive for the prevention of paediatric cancer, we must also work to ensure that all children facing a cancer diagnosis have equal access to treatment and proper care throughout their treatment and recovery.”
The Parliament Vice-President, who is a former paediatrician and health minister, added: “By lightning the European Parliament in gold we send a strong signal of solidarity and support to children and adolescents fighting cancer, their families, childhood cancer survivors and professionals serving them. “
Read more about what the EU does to improve public health.