Prof Dr Françoise Meunier

Ending Discrimination Against Cancer Survivors

Everyone can join the efforts in ending discrimination against cancer survivors in Europe

Today, more than 3 million citizens are facing a cancer diagnosis and every year, in no small part due to the EU's ageing population, one man in 3 and one woman in 4 will develop cancer.

The last decades have seen the cure rate dramatically improve with more than 55% of cancer patients medically cured of the condition. On an annual basis, the proportion of cancer survivors is increasing by 3% thanks to early diagnosis and innovative treatments which allow survivors to take part in socio- economical activities for the rest of their lives. Nowadays there are many cancers, such as breast cancer, childhood leukaemia, and testis cancer, for which survival rates are above 80%.

Nevertheless, many cancer survivors are facing discrimination and penalisation when accessing financial services such as mortgages and insurance.

This situation has been highlighted by Professor Françoise Meunier who has been advocating for change since her time as Director-General of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). Prof. Meunier also organised three cancer survivorship summits in Brussels to create awareness of the specific needs of cancer survivors, particularly in relation to insurances and mortgages.

Indeed, thanks to the tremendous progress of medicine in the last decades, cancer is no longer a death sentence, and more and more citizens are able to enjoy a "normal" life which they combine with a good quality of life. But this is not feasible, if individuals cannot access insurances or mortgages. There needs to be an end to financial discrimination against cancer survivors.