Sciensano participates in a major initiative to combat Non-Communicable Diseases and Cancer alongside more than 100 European partners

Published on: 
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Last updated on 19-6-2024 by Cassandre Dugailliez

Sciensano, together with 100 partners, takes part at the transformative initiative ‘Joint Action PreventNCD aimed at preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This ground-breaking project, co-funded by the European Union, brings together 25 countries in a collaborative effort to address the growing burden of NCDs and cancer in Europe.

Over two-thirds of the burden of disease in Europe stems from cancer and other NCDs, and with a significant amount of this burden being preventable. There are notable disparities between and within communities due to individual attributes and contextual elements, including socioeconomic status, gender, geography, age, disability, and migration background. In the EU, NCDs account for a staggering 115 billion EUR annually in healthcare expenditures. This, along with all the human suffering experienced by those affected, underscores the urgent need for coordinated action.

In February, we joined forces with more than 100 other partners in Oslo, to kick off this four-year project, coordinated by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Linda Granlund, Head of Coordination, and Division Director emphasizes the significance of this endeavour: “Cancer and other NCDs constitute a large proportion of the total burden of disease in Europe. NCDs can be prevented, and sadly we have not managed to tackle the challenges in an effective and coordinated way up until now. This project represents a paradigm shift, with 20% of health budgets dedicated to prevention—a symbol of Europe’s evolving approach to health.”


The event featured presentations from the different Work Packages.

Sciensano’s Cancer Centre coordinates Work Package 10 ’Identify Individuals At Risk’, which aims at alleviating the burden of cancer and other NCDs by addressing health determinants at the individual level. We will achieve this objective by providing an overview and generating empirical evidence on the use of personalised and risk-stratified prevention to contribute to the reduction of cancer and other NCDs. More than 20 pilot studies will be implemented addressing several aspects of personalised and risk-stratified prevention, including the integration of genetic determinants in the healthcare system, risk factors (particularly, tobacco cessation), physical activity, and a holistic approach to individuals who are diagnosed with cancer.

In Work package 4 ‘Sustainability’, we are co-leading with the Slovenian national institute of public health (NIJZ). We will focus on understanding how the outcomes of the pilot studies in the project can be integrated for long-term impact into policies at national, sub-national and European level, and how the policy recommendations can be sustainable into the future. The team collaborates and engages with policy-makers in the European institutes, as well as decision-makers at national level.

Our colleagues in the Health Information service will be involved in WP5: ‘Regulation and taxation’ , WP8: ‘Monitoring’ and WP9: ‘Health in all policies’.

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