Europa Donna Cyprus has given voice to women and men, overcoming prejudice and focusing on early diagnosis and equal access to breast cancer treatment, European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakidou said on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the charity, the former chairwoman of Europa Donna Cyprus said it was a “historic day” for thousands of women and many men in Cyprus as she highlighted the important work of the NGO.

The organisation, Kyriakidou said, is a special part of her own journey while it also contributed to the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

The plan, she added, “represents our renewed commitment to the prevention, treatment and quality of life of cancer patients”. It includes updating the commission’s recommendation on cancer screening and the European Code Against Cancer, as well as the creation of a European network of cancer specialist centres, she said.

EU initiatives also include joint action on HPV vaccination and the creation of the cancer inequalities registry.

The commissioner also spoke of the right of people with cancer history to access financial services without discrimination.

Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Italy have legally enshrined this right, Kyriakidou said, adding that Luxembourg “has also concluded a special Convention with insurance companies so that cancer patients who have been cured of cancer can have access to insurance.”

This right is also granted in other EU member states through anti-discrimination legislation, while the European Commission also makes moves towards the same direction, calling on member states to incorporate it in their national legislation by 2025. It targets all cancer patients ten years after the end of their treatment and five years after for people diagnosed before the age of 18.

Europa Donna Cyprus was founded in 2002 and is a member of the European breast cancer coalition Europa Donna which includes 46 country members.