The EPP Group is organising a hearing on the Right to be Forgotten for cancer survivors on Wednesday 12 May from 14h until 16h, with the intervention of the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor. The hearing aims to promote the concept of an EU-wide Right to be Forgotten for (former) cancer patients. Having a history of cancer often represents an obstacle for former patients to obtain access to financial instruments such as loans and mortgages.

Cancer survivorship as handled by insurance and other financial providers to date can be a life sentence for cancer patients. To put it in perspective: convicted persons in the European Union see their criminal record expire within several years (up to ten years for serious criminal offences) after serving the sentence. Cancer survivors on the other hand must declare their cancer history throughout their life and continue to suffer discrimination.

Four European countries, France, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands, adopted specific legislative initiatives recognising a Right to Be Forgotten for cancer survivors. The provisions state that in the context of those financial instruments, the period beyond which no medical information relating to the previous cancerous disease can be collected by insurance organisations may not exceed 10 years after the end of treatment or, when diagnosed before the age of 18 or 21, five years after the end of treatment (except in Belgium). The law also includes a list of exceptions for cancers with an excellent prognosis having shorter delays to exercise the Right to be Forgotten.

The legislative initiatives taken by France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are the proof that a solution exists in this context and that Member States have the possibility to repair these discriminative practices. Enacting an EU-wide Right to be Forgotten would initiate a dialogue between lawmakers and medical science; would ensure that legislation is kept updated to medical progress; and, most importantly, would minimise discrimination, promote social equality and ensure equal access to financial services for all EU citizens who are cancer survivors.

Confirmed speakers include: Minister Heitor, Prof Meunier, Grazia Scoccia (ECPC), Wim Geluykens (Kom op tegen kanker) and Katie Rizvi (Youth Cancer Europe).

Link to register to the EPP BECA hearing click here



14:00 hrs

Introductory words by EPP Group BECA Coordinator, Cindy Franssen

14:05 hrs

Opening remarks by BECA Chair, Bartosz Arłukowicz

14:10 hrs

Life after Cancer - setting the scene

  • Led by: MEP Tomislav Sokol
  • Prof. Dr. Françoise Meunier
  • Grazia Scocca, Legal Specialist ECPC
  • Katie Rizvi, Youth Cancer Europe
  • Tiago Costa, CCI-E Survivor Representative

14:45 hrs

Q&A session

15:00 hrs

Implementing the Right to be Forgotten across Europe - best practices from Member States 

  • Led by: MEP Tomislav Sokol
  • Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Portugal
  • Philippe Bousquet, the French National Cancer Institute (INCa)
  • Wim Geluykens, Kom op tegen Kanker, Belgium

15:35 hrs

Q&A session

15:50 hrs


  • EPP Group BECA Shadow Rapporteur, Peter Liese


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