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Cancer survivors need better support to get jobs and access loans, say researchers

March 01, 2018

Amsterdam, March 1, 2018 - More and more people are surviving cancer. Yet support for people who survive cancer and the research that underpins their care is insufficient, particularly when it comes to non-medical issues. A new special issue of the Journal of Cancer Policy, which will be published in March following the 3rd EORTC Cancer Survivorship Summit to be held in Brussels on March 1st and 2nd, shines a light on the issues and calls for more long-term research, better cross-analysis of different cancer types and better support for those who survive the disease.

One in three men and one in four women will develop cancer before the age of 75. Better prevention, screening and treatment for cancer mean an increasing number of those people will survive; globally there were 32 million cancer survivors in 2012 alone, and they will make up a significant proportion of the population in the future.

However, we still understand too little about the socio-economic issues cancer survivors are facing, like getting loans and accessing work. The new special issue is the first time that a journal highlights the need to shift from thinking about medical issues alone, to these important societal challenges, and follows on from the 3rd EORTC Cancer Survivorship Summit. Many of the authors of the special issue are speakers at the Summit where they will outline their vision for caring for survivors of cancer.

"Surviving cancer is more than a medical issue. We hope the research in this issue will increase the awareness of the socio-economic challenges faced by survivors for both researchers and society, which would help to engage various stakeholders to join forces in research, deliver the best care for survivors and change practice," said Dr. Lifang Liu, one of the guest editors of the special issue.

When someone survives cancer, they may have continuing medical issues to think about, with regular checkups and tests following remission. But this isn't all they have to worry about - it could be the difficulties they often have accessing work, getting loans, mortgages and insurance, and returning to a healthy sex life that cause them the most problems.

Obtaining insurance is an example of the socio-economic challenges cancer survivors face. One of the papers in the issue1 provides a practical solution to protect cancer survivors from discrimination when applying for insurance. The right to be forgotten, a French case study, is a potential starting point for a national or pan-European solution to this problem.

Another paper in the issue describes the YOU infrastructure: one of the four infrastructures that EORTC invested in to optimize and streamline modern clinical research. It is an innovative endeavor that aims to close the gap between clinical research and long-term follow up, ultimately to improve the lives of cancer patients.

"Current research efforts are fragmented," said Prof. Françoise Meunier, one of the guest editors of the issue. "There is an urgent need to change our mentality towards cancer survivorship and to form a comprehensive view on long term follow-up involving medical, physical, and psychological perspectives but also societal and financial ones. To move from optimized research to better care, implementation is key: we need to involve many different stakeholders early - not only researchers, but also lawyers, insurers and policy makers."
Notes for editors

The special issue of the Journal of Cancer Policy will be launched at 12:30 pm on Thursday 1 March, immediately before the opening session of the 3rd EORTC Cancer Survivorship Summit in Brussels, Belgium. For more information or to register your attendance at the press conference, contact Jennifer Crespo.

1 The article is "What do we mean by the right to be forgotten?," by M. Mesnil . It appears in Journal of Cancer Policy (2018), published by Elsevier.

Copies of this paper are available to credentialed journalists upon request; please contact Elsevier's Newsroom at or +31 20 485 2719.


The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), based in Brussels, Belgium, brings together European cancer clinical research experts from all disciplines for trans-national collaboration. The EORTC Network comprises more than 5500 collaborators from all disciplines involved in cancer treatment and research in more than 830 hospitals and institutions in 35 countries. Through translational and clinical research, the EORTC offers an integrated approach to cancer treatment and medical practices. For the last four years, EORTC has conducted a Cancer Survivorship Research Programme. For more information, visit

About Journal of Cancer Policy

The Journal of Cancer Policy is an international journal that publishes research and reviews on global cancer policy. The journal encompasses all aspects of cancer policy from prevention and public health through all modalities of control and cure, palliative care and survivorship. Topics include cancer economics and value-based care, inequalities in access and outcomes of cancer care and the social determinants of cancer.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, Scival, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries.

Media contact

Sarah Jenkins, Executive Publisher


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