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NEWS: ECCO celebrates Belgium’s achievement of Survivorship resolution

Following the example of France, Belgium has become the next European country to enact legislation to protect cancer survivors from the inequities of discrimination in financial services.

A new law passed by the Belgian Parliament enshrines the right for survivors of cancer “to be forgotten” when it comes to applying for various financial services, such as travel insurance, mortgages and personal and business loans.

The vote in the Parliament follows a previous announcement in October 2018 by Government Minister Kris Peeters (CD&V) to act against the unfair treatment that too many patients who have come through the difficulties associated with a cancer diagnosis experience after successful treatment. 

The new legislation makes Belgium the second country after France to protect cancer survivors in statute from unfair treatment in respect to accessing financial services. As such, it marks an important landmark in achieving the ECCO 2018 European Cancer Summit resolution which calls for all countries in Europe to codify in their national legislation the right of cancer survivors not to declare their cancer 10 years after the end of the active treatment and 5 years if they had cancer under 18.

Professor Françoise Meunier, author of the ECCO survivorship resolution, Vice-President of Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), and long time campaigner for improving cancer survivorship, commented:

“With this new ‘right to be forgotten’ legislation, Belgium has joined France in providing a role model to other countries in Europe as to how to better recognise and protect the needs of cancer survivors. All countries in Europe should take inspiration from the straight forward action they can take to improve the lives of the, thankfully, growing group within society who receive successful treatment for cancer. Working with ECCO, its members and partner stakeholder organisations, we won’t rest until our ambition for a universal right to be forgotten across Europe is achieved.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. Legislation passed by the French National Assembly in 2015 provides survivors of cancer with a ‘Right To Be Forgotten’, meaning they do not have to inform insurers or loan companies in France that they previously received treatment for cancer. More information here.

2. At the end of March 2019, the Belgian Parliament approved legislation that, similar to the 2015 French legislation, exempts survivors of cancer from obligations to provide information about past cancer diagnosis and treatment when seeking to access a range of financial services, such as home loans and insurance. More information here.

3. Stakeholders from the cancer patient, healthcare professional, commercial provider, research and other communities, came together at the ECCO 2018 European Cancer Summit to form and pass a resolution calling for the French ‘right to be forgotten’ legislation to be enacted across Europe. More information here.

 

 

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