CONTINUING CANCER CARE CONFERENCE 2011 (Day 1)
07 September 2011, European Parliament, Brussels
The start of a campaign to protect the social rights of patients with cancer and survivors of cancer in Europe
There are 3.2 million new cancer patients every year in Europe, many of whom are living longer than ever before. As the illness increasingly becomes a chronic disease, cancer patients’ quality of life needs to be addressed in a serious and systematic manner in order to enhance their participation in society, including the workplace.
It is imperative that quality of life issues for cancer patients are firmly on the EU agenda.
In collaboration with MEP Liz Lynne and other members of the MEPs Against Cancer group in the European Parliament, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) is organizing the Continuing Cancer Care Conference 2011 in the European Parliament on 7. During the conference we are focusing on the cost of illness in terms of how cancer affects the working life of individuals and their access to financial services with presentations from representatives of the European Commission, academic institutions and cancer leagues from Finland, Ireland and Italy, the UK and Belgium.
MEP Liz Lynne signs a CCC Declaration supporting cancer patients
Getting back to work is the single most important thing in life after cancer treatment (Professor Ziv Amir, Director, Macmillan Research Unit)
As the number of people surviving cancer or living with cancer as a chronic disease for longer increases, and as retirement ages are pushed back, supporting people with cancer in returning to work is fast becoming an important issue. It makes sense from the perspective of society as well as cancer patients to offer them adequate help to maintain employment. Early retirement is expensive, especially when financed by dwindling pension funds. It is much more advantageous to have people at work in order to contribute to the overall economy. For families it is essential to maintain their level of income after the cancer treatment of one of their members. For families and women with low-skilled or manual workers, getting back to work after treatment is particularly important but far more difficult. A cancer diagnosis in these groups is far more threatening to financial stability than for those in white-collar work.
“Many cancer patients consider resumption of work as the ultimate proof of survival both to themselves and to others. The importance of stating clearly in public, that getting cancer does not automatically mean you are out-of work, or socially inactive, should not be underestimated.” (Jutta Olgood, Danish Cancer Society
Performing a job is increasingly becoming an important part of people’s identity. Ideally a job offers people possibilities to develop and use personal skills. Colleagues can be essential to your social network and support. Many cancer patients consider resumption of work as the ultimate proof of survival both to themselves and to others. The importance of stating clearly in public that getting cancer does not automatically mean you are out-of work, or that you are socially inactive, should not be underestimated. Thus we will be examining the best ways to ensure the rights of cancer patients at work are protected.
The second crucial area is access to financial services, namely fair access to credit and insurance. Access to financial services like insurance and credit is important for people to make use of economic opportunities, to secure housing, improve their health, education and overall well-being. But cancer survivors often experience problems when they want to take out insurance or obtain credit.
“Insurance companies often refuse cancer survivors or confront them with an adjournment or postponement of several years.”
Cancer leagues around Europe receive testimonies from cancer survivors who experience problems with obtaining life insurance, loan insurance, private health insurance and travel insurance. Insurance companies often refuse cancer survivors or confront them with an adjournment or postponement of several years. If survivors are offered insurance, it is often with a high surcharge added to the premium. The aim of this session is threefold: to illustrate the problems experienced by cancer survivors, showcase some best practices and to identify what needs to be done on the European level to improve the insurability of cancer patients.
This conference will be the launching pad for a campaign to protect patients with cancer at work, and to stop discrimination of cancer survivors by financial institutions. We aim to do this by lobbying the European Commission to include all chronic diseases in their definition of disability in all existing and potential legislation in Europe. During the Conference, participants and MEPs will be called on to sign the 2011 Declaration of Support for Cancer Patients:
Background to the PSWG
The Patient Support Working Group has been an active part of the Association of European Cancer Leagues since 2007. Each of our members work directly with cancer patients in countries across Europe and contribute to the group whose aim is to share information and to lobby at the European level for equal rights, fair treatment and better health services for cancer patients. For more information, please contact:
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 13:39