A cancer information system for the EU
Without more complete and reliable cancer data, the effects arising from any decision or implementation measures to reduce the cancer burden in the EU will remain the subject of debate. Harmonised data and agreed metadata standards are fundamental for accurate comparisons of data across regional and national boundaries. The development of a cancer information system for the EU, in close cooperation with the European Network of Cancer Registries (ENCR), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and EPAAC WP9 (the European Partnership Action Against Cancer - EPAAC - Work Package 9) and all pertinent stakeholders like EUNICE, HAEMACARE, RARECARE, EUROCARE, EUROCOURSE, epidemiological research institutes, etc will facilitate estabilishing such an information resource which will allow the calculation of prevalence and survival rates over and above incidence and mortality rates.
While the task of developing such an information base cannot be underestimated, partly also in view of the different entities and practices in the Member States involved in registering cancer data, the benefits are undeniable. The data will generate a dynamic European cancer atlas which will enable to monitor the direct affects and benefits of cancer policy interventions whilst also providing an invaluable resource for cancer epidemiological research allowing greater understanding of the differences and related causes in population-based studies. As such it will be a key instrument in directing European and national cancer strategies.