Oops, you're using an old version of your browser so some of the features on this page may not be displaying properly.

MINIMAL Requirements: Google Chrome 24+Mozilla Firefox 20+Internet Explorer 11Opera 15–18Apple Safari 7SeaMonkey 2.15-2.23

ESMO Presents at a High-Level Conference in Brussels to Support the Need to Protect Cancer Survivors from Financial Discrimination

15 Feb 2024

ESMO continues advocating for the fair and equal treatment of cancer survivors across the EU when accessing financial services, regardless of when they reside. As part of its efforts, ESMO presented at the High-Level Conference on Ending Discrimination Against Cancer Survivors, held in Brussels on 15 February 2024, and stated that in Europe cancer mortality rates are low and a universal 5-year period for ‘right to be forgotten’ for all cancer survivors would be a reasonable, but admittedly imperfect threshold, given the existing data limitations.

Davide Soldato, speaking on behalf of ESMO, stated: ‘We acknowledge the weakness of the current evidence base, however taking into consideration the rapid advancements in cancer treatment, a 5-year period could be reasonable as a general threshold for all cancer survivors.’

At the last ESMO Congress 2023, held in Madrid, ESMO called on all EU member states to act on the adopted EU Consumer Credits Directive, by following their European neighbours Spain and France and guaranteeing cancer survivors seeking financial credit the so-called right to be forgotten after a period of five years following the end of their treatment. As of 1 January 2025, Belgium is moving towards this direction by reducing such a period from 8 to 5 years. While a uniform application of the new Directive in national legislation will be essential to guaranteeing European citizens equal opportunities in life after cancer, the five-year period constitutes a pragmatic, reasonable threshold for omitting cancer-related health data from assessments of creditworthiness.

For ESMO Director of Public Policy Prof. Jean-Yves Blay the complex issue is to define when the risk of the former cancer patient becomes equivalent to that of the general population. ‘Although the answer is difficult to pinpoint exactly and for all forms of the disease, what we do know today is that the vast majority of cancers that relapse do so in the first two- or three-years following treatment,’ said Blay, explaining the medical rationale for ESMO’s call. ‘By five years, most cancers, if not all, have a risk of relapse which is considerably decreasing to a point where it likely becomes smaller than the risk of developing a new cancer, which is a risk shared by all healthy individuals.’ It can be expected then that survivors at five years have a life expectancy that is not significantly different from that of their peers of the same age and sociodemographic characteristics in the general population.

In addition to the aforementioned legislative initiative, ESMO is contributing to the development of a non-binding EU Code of Conduct (CoC) on the fair access of cancer survivors to financial services which aims to ensure that changes in cancer care are reflected in the commercial practices of financial service providers. ESMO has contributed to the ongoing process of developing this CoC with its comments on the Minimum Remission Period and advised that cancer patients should be treated in the same manner as other people of similar age and socio-demographic characteristics, with a universal RTBF of 5-7 years from the moment when the treatment ended as this approach is used in oncology statistics as an imperfect surrogate of ‘cure’ across all tumour types in the absence of an ideal multidimensional algorithm.

This site uses cookies. Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information on the cookies we use, please check our Privacy Policy.

Customise settings
  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and you can only disable them by changing your browser preferences.