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A conference on cancer-related issues was held at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences on 26 June 2020. The conference was organised by Juozas Olekas, a member of the European Parliament (S&D Group), the European Commission (EC) Representation in Lithuania, the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Vilnius University (VU) Hospital Santaros klinikos, the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Hospital “Kauno klinikos”, POLA (the Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition), the Steponas Kairys Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, and the European Institute for Health and Sustainable Development.
Each year, 3.5 million people in the EU are diagnosed with cancer and 1.3 million people die from it. For decades, the EU has been actively working to reduce the incidence of cancer. With the launch of the first “Europe Against Cancer” plan in the late 1980s, the EU adopted relevant legislation on tobacco control and better health protection for certain professions. Since then, EU member states have committed themselves to reducing mortality from chronic diseases, including cancer.
Left to right: Dr Juozas Olekas, member of the European Parliament, Prof. Kęstutis Strupas, member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Dr Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, the former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and Prof. Jūras Banys, President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, has launched a new European Beating Cancer Plan to help EU member states fight the disease and reduce human suffering. The plan to be developed will cover the entire life cycle of the disease: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and ensuring continued quality of life of the cured patients. Like many other EU member states, Lithuania still lacks effective and timely cancer prevention measures and therefore the number of cancer deaths in Lithuania remains high. The European Beating Cancer Plan will not only offer solutions to promote better cooperation between EU member states in this fight, but will also commit Lithuania to undertake concrete agreed actions and measures.
Prof. Jūras Banys, President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, opened the conference “New European Cancer Strategy – Solutions for Lithuania” and wished the participants constructive work. The first session of the conference was chaired by Juozas Olekas, a member of the European Parliament, and Arnoldas Pranckevičius, head of the EC Representation in Lithuania and opened with an online address to the conference by Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. The session included presentations by Aurelijus Veryga, the health minister of Lithuania, Juozas Olekas, a member of the European Parliament, Prof. Elona Juozaitytė, of the “Kauno klinikos” hospital of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Associate Professor Jelena Rascon from Vilnius University Hospital Santaros klinikos, and Prof. Dr Sonata Jarmalaitė, director of the National Cancer Institute.
Right to left: Rūta Dubakienė, a member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Elona Juozaitytė, and Kristina Garuolienė
The second session was chaired by Juozas Olekas, a member of the European Parliament, and Prof. Rūta Dubakienė, chair of the Medicine Section at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. The speakers at this sessions were Prof. Limas Kupčinskas, a member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Jean-Yves Blay, ERN EURACAN, and Dr Birutė Tumienė from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Šarūnas Narbutas, president of POLA (the Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition), and Dr Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, the former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.
Left to right: Prof. Limas Kupčinskas, the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, and Dr Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety
Dovilė Šakalienė, a member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, and Prof. Edvardas Danila took part in discussions.
This conference was initiated by the organizers as a public consultation with the top-level experts and specialists working in Lithuania in the field of cancer prevention and treatment. Having heard the views of all interested individuals and organizations on the ideas and content of the plan, the organizers of the conference exchanged their insights and experiences and discussed the situation of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment in Lithuania. Lithuanian oncologists and patient organizations, representatives of the Government, the representatives of Lithuania in the European Parliament and international organizations will submit their proposals to the European Commission.
Prof. Rūta Dubakienė, chair of the Medicine Section at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
Photography Virginija Valuckienė
Translation from Lithuanian by Diana Barnard