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European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA)
News article4 February 2024European Health and Digital Executive Agency5 min read

World Cancer Day - EU4Health projects are working to improve the quality of cancer screening programmes and optimise cancer trainings across Europe


While cancer survival rates have significantly increased thanks to advances in prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, the number of people with a history of cancer in the EU is growing annually and is now estimated at over 12 million. Fortunately, cancers can be detected in time thanks to screening programmes. Moreover, cancer management plays an important role in supporting cancer patients and survivors along their recovery journey.  

On World Cancer Day, discover two projects funded under EU4Health as part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, one focusing on improving the quality of cancer screening programmes in Europe and another on developing optimised cancer trainings to ensure better patient care.


Running until the end of February 2024, the CanScreen-ECIS project aims to develop and pilot a new cancer screening data management system to be integrated into the European Cancer Information System (ECIS). The project is being conducted by a consortium of seven partners under the leadership of IARC and in collaboration with other European experts working on cancer screening data collection projects, the second European Screening Report (EUSR) and EU-TOPIA.

Up to now, the CanScreen-ECIS project has revised the key performance indicators (KPI) for breast, cervical colorectal and lung cancer screening programmes in the EU to:

  • Facilitate comparisons between the different organisational settings of screening programmes;
  • Enable the collection of data on testing conducted outside the established programmes;
  • Allow the monitoring system to identify & quantify the information on inequalities;
  • Address new screening approaches and potential emerging cancer sites for future considerations.

A data submission warehouse was also created, which will enable the upgraded European Cancer Information System to start collecting indicators to monitor and assess cancer screening programmes regularly at national and sub-national levels. By defining the various KPIs to monitor cancer screening programmes, the project also aims to support the flagship initiative 4 , putting forward a new EU-supported Cancer Screening Scheme.


The INTERACT-EUROPE project brought together 33 partners from 17 countries with the objective of developing a European inter-specialty cancer training programme by November 2023 to foster a patient-centric approach to quality cancer care within a multidisciplinary framework.

Healthcare professional organisations involved in the project developed a curriculum that identified valuable inter-specialty competencies across surgical, medical, radiation, nursing, radiology and oncology. In addition to this, the project team explored the use of new technologies, such as automatic translation technology, and set out a long-term vision for inter-speciality cancer training.

The follow-up project, INTERACT-EUROPE 100 started in December 2023 and aims to implement inter-specialty cancer training in 100 centres across Europe.


In September 2023, a communication and leadership course led by the INTERACT-EUROPE project took place in Lisbon. Discover below what participants had to say about it:

Communicating with patients

“Before this course, I had slight problems in delivering bad news to the patients and I didn't empathise with them that much. Now I can say that this workshop helped me a lot.”

“I already had unconscious knowledge about the importance of the training, but this workshop made us feel like patients, and the firsthand experience made things more concrete and important. Roleplaying is essential and key to acquiring theoretical knowledge and remembering it while taking care of and communicating with real patients.”

“I did not have the impression that we talked much faster than we should, that we had no open space for clarification, and I never even considered asking directly about what kind of information patients want.”

“I learned a couple of practical skills to use in my everyday work. I feel that I can evaluate my communication better and have already implemented some skills I learned in the workshop.”

“When I came back to my hospital, I really tried to apply the tips and tricks learned in Lisbon. I tried to understand the patients' needs and their families; I also tried to be more empathetic.”

Communicating with colleagues

"The course provided a very good overview of various communication techniques. I found the technique of asking more questions during communication to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts particularly enlightening, and I will take that with me from the course."

"I now place more value on diverse perspectives and expertise from colleagues in different disciplines, fostering effective communication within a multidisciplinary team. This leads to more inclusive, productive, and harmonious collaborations."

"I strive to remain calm, listen to others' perspectives, and express my opinions clearly and firmly without being overly aggressive."

"I am more conscious of the importance of good communication with colleagues, as it leads to effective sharing of information and knowledge, contributing to better management of patients and the everyday clinical routine."

“Now I think is important to involve everyone in the meeting and to find out the perspective of the other person”.

Communicating with leadership

"After this course, I realised how important communication is with every person you meet. In the past, I didn’t emphasise communication with colleagues, even when conflicts arose. Now, I hope to have acquired new skills to deal with this. Additionally, I used to think I needed a lot of time to talk to every patient and explore their emotions. However, now I see that asking the right questions, creating the right environment, and being present can save a lot of time and make the patient feel better."

"I am trying to speak more, express my opinions, and not assume that the person who speaks the loudest is always correct."


EU4Health is the fourth and largest of the EU health programmes. The programme provides funding to national authorities, health organisations and other bodies through grants and public procurement, contributing to a healthier Europe.

HaDEA manages the vast majority of the total EU4Health budget and implements the programme by managing calls for proposals and tenders from 2021 to 2027.

Relevant links

Europe's Beating Cancer Plan

#GetScreenedEU campaign

#UnitedInProtection: a focus on HPV vaccination


Publication date
4 February 2024
European Health and Digital Executive Agency
Programme Sector
  • Health
  • EU4Health
  • EU financing
  • EUCancerPlan
  • EUFunded
  • HealthUnion
  • Public health