Cancer survivors’ “Right to be forgotten” was the focus at a press conference marking Europa Donna Cyprus’s 20th anniversary on Wednesday.
President of the board of directors of Europa Donna Cyprus, Mary Perdiou announced that in line with Europa Donna Cyprus’ 20-year milestone, the organisation is launching a campaign aimed at passing new legislation that will allow cancer survivors access to insurance coverage and financial facilities. The ‘right to be forgotten’ means the right not to be discriminated when a former cancer patient asks for specific credit services and life insurance after a set period of time has passed.
Referring to data, Perdiou said that cancer survivors are increasing every year by 3 per cent in Europe, while noting that 20 million people live with cancer after their diagnosis and 35 per cent have survival rates beyond 10 years after their diagnosis.
However, Perdiou noted that cancer patients continue to face problems when it comes to accessing financial facilities and securing insurance coverage.
In a video message, EU health commissioner and founding member of Europa Donna Cyprus Stella Kyriakides noted that she could take the initiative to the competent ministers, so that this bill can be forwarded as soon as possible and voted on.
“We already have such examples of places such as Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Italy that have legally guaranteed this right,” she said. She added that Luxembourg also concluded a special contract with insurance companies for cancer patients who have been cured to have access to insurance.
Kyriakides called on member states to incorporate the “right to be forgotten” into their national legislation, and to guarantee it by 2025 at the latest for all cancer patients ten years after the end of their treatment and five years later for people diagnosed before the age of 18.
Meanwhile, health minister Michalis Hadjipantelas noted that the number of people affected by the illness continues to rise due to demographic changes and living conditions in Europe.
Six hundred and thirty new cases of breast cancer in women and five new cases in men are recorded on average in Cyprus, he said.
Currently in Cyprus, the health ministry offers nationwide breast screening to all women between the ages of 50-69, regardless of income criteria. Based on European guidelines, the ministry plans to extend the programme to women between 45-69 years old.
The health minister said that modern high-tech digital mammography machines have been introduced to the programme, noting that many women have been completely cured thanks to this programme that detects cancer in early, preclinical stages.