Nutritional Cancer care at EU Member state level


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“If you are serious about health, you should be serious about nutrition”

Prof Olle Ljungvist, Chair of the European Nutrition for Health Alliance

In February of this year, the European Commission adopted its ambitious €4 billion Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan covering prevention, early detection, diagnosis & treatment and quality of life.

This event is held under the auspices of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The next step was to explore how to implement the plan effectively at member state level.
To this end, the European Nutrition for Health Alliance (ENHA), through its Portuguese team and the Portuguese Ministry of Health, hosted a live digital conference:

EU4Nutrition LIVE

Implementing Optimal Nutritional Cancer care
at EU member state level

The event has identified concrete implementation recommendations at EU member state level and is an opportunity to explain how patients and countries can benefit from Europe’s Beating Cancer plan.


“The report of the European Parliament's special committee on beating cancer should reflect the importance of nutritional care in cancer.”

MEP Sara Cerdas, MD


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Final Programme

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  • António Sales

    Portuguese Deputy Minister for Health
  • Robert Greene

    Board European Cancer Patient Coalition
    President HungerNdThirst Foundation
  • Sara Cerdas, MD

    Vice-chair Beating Cancer Committee European Parliament, S&D
  • Prof António Parreira, MD

    Clinical Director of the Champalimaud Clinical Cancer Centre, Lisbon
  • Alessandro Laviano

    Associate professor of Internal Medicine Sapienza University of Rome
  • Nicole Erickson MSc, RD

    Nutrition and Research Coordinator Oncology Dietetics, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich
  • Prof Rocco Barazzoni

    President of ESPEN, European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Laurence Doughan

    Expert in nutrition policy and Coordinator of the Federal Food and Health Plan at SPF Santé publique


Over 30 million European citizens continue to be at risk of malnutrition, and the COVID pandemic has had a severe impact on cancer care with delayed diagnosis and (nutritional) treatment of cancer patients. Nutrition and nutritional care are eminently (cost) effective interventions and should therefore be a key component and integral part of any health initiative that strives for disease prevention, effective treatment and improved patient outcomes.

It is estimated that the deaths of 10-20% of cancer patients can be attributed to malnutrition rather than to the malignancy itself. Yet, only 30%-60% of patients with cancer who were at risk of malnutrition receive nutritional support.
Especially regarding postponed cancer treatments due to COVID, how will Europe’s beating Cancer plan address the basic need of implementing optimal nutritional care such as nutritional screening and access to nutritional care for patients and survivors at member state level?

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission February 4th 2020

Together we have accomplished that nutritional support has become part of Europe’s Beating Cancer plan, within a workforce ‘Inter-specialty cancer training programme’ and secured commitment of the Commission’s cancer team to include support of cancer patients through screening for malnutrition, medical nutrition and treatment guidelines.

However, as Ursula von der Leyen stated, the challenge of the plan lies in its implementation.





This event was co-organised by the European Nutrition for Health Alliance (ENHA), the Portuguese Association for Clinical Nutrition (APNEP) and ENHA members and partners, among others the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) and the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) and European professional societies such as ESPEN (clinical nutrition & metabolism), EuGMS (geriatricians) and EFAD (dietitians).