Last month we were all shocked to learn about the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman. These public tragedies teach us that cancer does not discriminate, and it cannot always be prevented. It can strike the healthiest and fittest amongst us, the most talented, the most creative, the most successful.
On World Cancer Day, all my thoughts are with all those who are suffering from cancer or who have lost a loved one to cancer. I know first-hand the emotional devastation of cancer, having lost three beloved brothers to this terrible disease.
I would also like to give a message of hope and empowerment by highlighting that one out of three cancers can be avoided by making healthy lifestyle choices. This does not apply to all, but for those who can be helped, it is important to arm them with the information they need to prevent cancer.
The Commission has worked in collaboration with scientists of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) who I had the pleasure to visit in Lyon a few weeks ago, on recommendations to remain cancer-free. The fourth edition of the European Code Against Cancer, launched in October 2014, includes recommendations both on primary prevention (e.g. not smoking, good nutrition, physical activity, etc.) and secondary prevention (e.g. screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer).
I promote this Code at every occasion, and urge everyone to do the same. The Code is for all Europeans, having been translated into all official languages of the EU.
For more information on EU action on cancer: