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The EU Commission unveils the roadmap for Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

On 18 November 2021, the European Commission published the implementation roadmap and progress indicators for Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, which sets out a new and ambitious approach to reduce the burden of cancer in the EU.

The roadmap is a complex and detailed document, identifying several actions the European Commission intends to implement from 2021 to 2025. In addition, for each initiative, a “progress indicator(s)” section is specified to assess whether the action has been implemented successfully.

In terms of prevention, the European Commission intends to address key risk factors in terms of environmental pollution, hazardous substances, and alcohol.

Among the considerable initiatives listed in the Plan, the EU aims to reduce the exposure to hazardous substances and radiations. Indeed, in line with the European Commission’s Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021 – 2027, the European Commission plans to amend the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to reduce workers’ exposure to carcinogenic substances as well as to revise EU limits for asbestos. Both regulatory initiatives will take place in 2022.

From 2021 to 2023, actions will be launched to evaluate the exposure of workers to risk factors for cancer to explore measures to prevent exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and to evaluate the implementation of the Council Directive on protection from ionizing radiation.

In addition, one of the major cornerstones of the Plan is represented by the actions to reduce harmful alcohol consumption. In 2022, the European Commission is expected to adopt proposals to review the EU legislation on taxation of alcohol and to implement mandatory labelling of the list of ingredients. Moreover, in 2023, the Commission will propose to introduce health warnings on alcoholic beverage products.

Health holds an extremely prominent position in the Commission headed by Ursula von Der Leyen. And now, with a shift in priorities, the fight against cancer is the first concern of the Commission's health policy. For this reason, the Commission is expected to focus considerable resources on meeting the roadmap of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan.

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