MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –
Ladies and gentlemen,
The new national cancer control strategy is always an important moment for our Nation, a moment during which researchers, caregivers, association leaders, public decision-makers, patients and former patients, come together, as a symbol of our mobilization to roll back this disease.
It is indeed a strategy of great ambition that we are launching today and which is the fruit of your collective commitment.
This strategy is ambitious. Ambitious first, by its duration. For the first time, it is not a 5-year but a 10-year project that has been developed by the National Cancer Institute, of which I salute the President, Norbert IFRAH. 10 years, that changes everything: it is visibility for all players, bets that we allow ourselves, and therefore the promise of more breakthrough innovations, more in-depth transformations.
This ambitious strategy is also through its financing. 1.7 billion euros mobilized over the next 5 years. This is 20% more than between 2016 and 2021.
This ambitious strategy is still through the objectives pursued.
In a decade, go from 150,000 new preventable cancers per year to less than 100,000.
Reduce the mortality of the 7 most lethal cancers.
Better support the consequences of cancer and treatment on quality of life and employment: indeed today, two-thirds of patients retain sequelae five years after diagnosis; it is a question of reducing this population to less than a third.
Behind these figures which are often cold, impersonal: they are lives. Grief that can be avoided. Families who can rebuild themselves. Hope, for many patients. This is why, despite the difficult times, despite this pandemic that has delayed too much care, especially for cancer patients, I wanted to make things happen with you. Because improving the lives of the 5 million French families affected by cancer does not wait.
The Government will present in detail all the measures that will be listed in a decree.
But here I want to give the main priorities.
1) First of all, do everything to ensure that there are as few cancers as possible by acting over the long term, that of prevention.
Prevention is one of the red threads of the policies we have been pursuing since the start of the five-year term: acting at the root, investing upstream to avoid human and financial costs downstream. This is one of the weaknesses, it must be said, of the French model. We treat very well, sometimes much better than elsewhere. We often prevent less well. In the face of cancer, this approach is essential. 40% of cancers could be avoided by more virtuous behaviors. So the first way to cure cancer is to prevent it from happening.
The various successive plans have enabled progress in many areas: tobacco and alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity and sport. Our goal today is to consolidate these gains and to change scale.
Tobacco is, and remains, the cause of 70,000 new cases of cancer each year. 70,000. That’s almost half of preventable cancers. Tobacco kills. It destroys lives. We never say it enough. I want the generation that turns 20 in 2030 to be the first tobacco-free generation in recent history. To do this, all the deterrent levers will be activated: the price, we have already largely started and we will continue, the extension of tobacco-free spaces, information campaigns on its toxicity for human beings but also for the planet, a better support for those who quit smoking as well as for those who help them. It is a mobilization of all of society that we are engaging. A mobilization that must begin, and do even more, from school, drawing inspiration from the greatest international successes.
Alcohol is another risk factor, causing a fifth of preventable cancers. So, of course, alcohol, especially alcohols produced in France which are part of our traditions, belong to our art of living, our sociability. It is not a question of going towards zero alcohol but of preventing excess and better helping those who are in a form of addiction to come out of it. And here too, we must not confuse everything, but we must face with great determination the situation that we are experiencing today and which remains critical. Like what we have done for food, we will provide benchmarks that are both more visible and more readable to consumers on each product. We must do everything to ensure that those who are most dependent on alcohol reduce their consumption and again to better prevent, inform and support.
Against these two main causes of preventable cancer, our actions will particularly target young people so that good practices are taken as soon as possible and that they have a prescriptive effect in the long term, because the behaviors of young people today will inspire those of the next generations. Because also what we manage to do in our youth has an impact on the parents, very often.
Finally, fighting cancer means encouraging everyone to move towards a better healthy lifestyle. It is food, and France was a pioneer in the deployment of Nutriscore. All the initiatives that we are taking to eat better, for fresh and local foods, to have affordable and quality agriculture, are totally consistent with this strategy. This is sport, and it can be learned at school. We must act quickly on this very part of the quality of life. Here too we have stepped up actions from an early age and the strategy proposes several extremely important areas of consolidation.
Quality of life is also the air we breathe. So when we set up “Low Emission Zones” in our cities, it’s good for the climate but it’s also good for health. Indeed, environmental policy is at the same time a public health policy. In 2021, France will have at least 7 new zones of this type and it is an action that I want to strengthen in these metropolitan areas as in some of our valleys which remain extraordinarily polluted and which affect the health of many of our fellow citizens.
2) The second axis of our strategy is for shorter time: it is the development of screening which must be both accessible to all and as early as possible. Because the earlier cancers are detected, the greater the chances of a cure, and the lower the risk of sequelae.
The action carried out over the past twenty years has made great strides forward. In France, 9 million people get tested each year. But, the account is not there yet. For example, 7 in 10 people have not been screened for colorectal cancer, yet 90% of these cancers can be cured if caught early. We must therefore redouble our efforts, both to raise awareness, remove reluctance, mobilize caregivers and associations, and also simplify access to tests. I want, in the years to come, to achieve at least 1 million more screenings per year. These screenings are an essential part of the strategy proposed, and rightly so. As I said, it is a matter of information, mobilization of all stakeholders and the ability to reach the end audiences and do these additional screenings.
We also have to look far, invent the screening of tomorrow by mobilizing all the contributions of research and technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and big data. Several innovations are underway that make it possible to better target, again to better prevent thanks to these technologies, sometimes to avoid unnecessary acts following the first observation and therefore to improve our screening. Let us make it a priority: that, within a few years, we have deployed campaigns for lung cancer that are at least as effective as those currently under way for the cancers I have just mentioned. Then we will have cleared a new frontier.
3) Third axis of our strategy: better support for patients. During illness. And after.
Treatments have already come a long way. But the real revolutions are before us. They are called biotherapy, immunotherapy, areas in which France is at the forefront, areas also where we can continue to improve, strengthen our innovations, our funding, simplify our procedures by accelerating them. They are also called molecular genomics, and here too we are pioneers. All this gives life to the hope of more personalized treatments, less serious in sequelae, more human. This is why we will invest heavily in these areas to stay ahead of the game, to also sometimes try to win back any small delays that we may have taken, I am clear on our situation. 50% of the overall budget of the ten-year strategy is thus devoted to the research component, both fundamental and clinical. These are investments, teams to encourage and consolidate, the ability to train the best talents and keep them, the ability to develop national strategies on each of the axes that I have just mentioned and I would have the opportunity to do so. to do in the coming weeks in addition to this strategy and this ten-year plan.
It is also knowing how to give visibility on prices when we innovate and France, it must be said, has not always been good on this subject. And that is to simplify and speed up all our procedures. We are still too long, too slow. And, I must say, these delays, not always justified, are brakes on innovation.
For the most serious cancers, the greatest risk is basically not to take them. This is why we will work on this acceleration that I just mentioned: speeding up the marketing of certain therapies, with simplified procedures.
The subject of cancer sequelae has long been a blind spot and constitutes an important axis of this strategy. Until recently, we legitimately wanted to be cured at all costs, without always worrying about the aftermath. And I must say that by listening to you, by reading you, by seeing the mobilization of all the professionals, I was impressed by the enrichment of the reflection. And fundamentally, whether it is indeed pediatric oncology as well as all the specialties linked to it, whether it is also about the forms of cancer that are now being treated better and better and that give patients in remission and then recover for years, the question of living a long time with the consequences, the after-effects of cancer, is a question that you have decided to take into account and I fully agree with it. We must indeed take this dimension into account better, and this, from the development of therapies. The after-effects are also what we experience when cancer has forced us to quit studies, a job, doors that close. So in this capacity, France has sometimes been first, with for example the right to be forgotten, and it is a question that many of you have already cleared up on which thanks to you we have been able to move forward and inspire other countries. We must go further today. 20% of people who quit their job because of their cancer have not found it five years after diagnosis. With the private sector, we will change that. So as not to allow injustice to be added to injustice.
All of these goals obviously set the bar high. But we can reach them because we are not alone. If it is a national ambition, the fight against cancer is also a European fight, affirmed yesterday with force through the announcements of the Union plan: the creation of a European center of knowledge on cancer and of a network care centers, the launch of an initiative on medical imaging for screening and diagnosis, support to States for vaccination against cervical cancer and papillomavirus, but also for the development of gene therapies.
Basically, the slogan was given: “join forces to progress”. At 27 we can do better, faster. We are living it and demonstrating it in the fight against the epidemic. This is what we must do, in this fight against cancer.
There you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen, despite the pandemic, France, hand in hand with Europe, is steadfast in its ambition to reduce cancer.
She will not give up, in particular, of her action to reduce childhood cancer. 1700 new cases are declared each year, 1700. So certainly 80% recover. But it’s still too little. Above all, we must provide better support to patients to enable them to follow their studies, to practice activities, to keep that part of the carefree attitude which belongs to their age and which must be preserved even when fate strikes. Support their families too. In each of these battles that make up your daily life and which touch so many lives, you will always have me by your side.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let us be proud to be a country where treatment for this terrible disease is free even when the treatments are expensive.
Proud to be a country which invests in research, which embraces this humanism which has forged our history and which holds us together whatever the tragedy of time.
So I want to thank you. Thank you all. Because with you I believe in science, I believe in progress. I also believe in the tremendous results that collective mobilization can achieve, when we mobilize our values and knowledge. We can together win this fight. So much has been done in recent years, there is much more we can do with this 10-year plan. This is what I intend to do with you, thanks to you.
Thank you so much.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.