Miñones defends the need to promote a coordinated and fair response to cancer in the EU context

News - 2023.8.31

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The acting Minister for Health, José Miñones, has defended the need to continue promoting, within the framework of the EU, a coordinated and fair response to cancer, one of the main health needs of European citizens and, therefore, a strategic objective in the construction of the European Health Union.

He stressed this during his speech at the closing ceremony of the High-Level Meeting 'Challenges in cancer care' held today in Barcelona, as part of the agenda of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

José Miñones stressed the importance of tackling cancer from a broad perspective that combines prevention, diagnosis, therapies, research and care response and that will enable a 70% survival rate to be achieved by 2030, as proposed by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC).

In this regard, he valued the relevance of the European Plan to Combat Cancer, approved in 2021, a document with which the National Health System (NHS) Cancer Strategy is aligned, and which also allowed the creation of new programmes such as 'Mission Cancer', with more funding and a new common framework for action.

Prevention, care response and therapies

The acting Minister for Health listed some of the main advances made in prevention in the field of oncology by the National Health System, such as the roll-out of population screening programmes for breast and colon cancer, which have now been implemented in all the autonomous communities, and the promotion of the cervical cancer screening programme throughout the country.

In this context, Miñones reaffirmed Spain's commitment to the latest recommendations of the European Council regarding population-based cancer screening and, in this context, he announced that our country is currently in the process of evaluating the evidence on the efficacy of new screenings with the aim of expanding the Common Portfolio of NHS services.

He also recalled the key role played by healthy habits and lifestyles and health promotion throughout all stages of life in promoting cancer prevention, as "the best way to improve people's quality of life".

In terms of diagnostics, the acting Minister for Health highlighted the boost given to the response capacity of the NHS, thanks to the Investment Plan for High Technology (INVEAT) which, with an investment of 795 million euros from Next Generation funds, has facilitated the acquisition of up to 851 pieces of equipment, many of which are essential for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.

This programme is complemented by the Plan for the Implementation of the NHS Genomics Portfolio or the Plan for the Implementation of Protontherapy which will provide the first 10 devices with this technology to the Spanish public health system, through an agreement with the Amancio Ortega Gaona Foundation.

On the other hand, José Miñones also highlighted the advances made for the protection of cancer survivors, such as the approval, between the months of May and June, of oncological oblivion in Spain, with a package of measures to eliminate discrimination against people who have suffered from cancer.

The event, held at the Royal Palace of Pedralbes in Barcelona, was also attended, among other personalities, by the Catalan Counselor for Health, Manel Balcells; the Government Delegate in Catalonia, Carlos Prieto; the Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón; the Director of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), Cristóbal Belda; the Director General of Public Health, Pilar Aparicio; the Director General of the Common Portfolio of NHS Services and Pharmacy of the Ministry of Health, César Hernández; the President of the European Cancer Organisation, Andreas Charalambous; and the President of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), Ramón Reyes. The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, also took part remotely.

Non official translation