Time To Act. Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from tackling cancer

About this campaign

On 11 May 2021, the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) launched the Time to Act Campaign, to urge the public, cancer patients, policymakers, and healthcare professionals to ensure COVID-19 does not continue to undermine the fight against cancer.

As part of the Time To Act campaign, ECO and campaign partners (including SIP) call for:

  • Cancer treatment (including aspects of pain management) to not be delayed due to the pandemic
  • Cancer patients to insist that their cancer treatment schedule is maintained

Furthermore, the campaign reaffirms ECO’s mission to support healthcare professionals in their commitment to delivering optimal care for the benefit of patients, including in pain management.


To support the campaign, ECO launched a new European COVID-19 & Cancer Data Intelligence hub, which provides further detail on the pandemic’s impact across the cancer continuum, and across countries. The hub brings together resources and information shared by ECO's Special Network on the Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer, Member Societies, Patient Advocacy groups, and other stakeholders.

More info about the campaign can be found here.



SIP supports the campaign as one of its 2020-2021 Policy Priorities is cancer pain. SIP’s Cancer Position paper proposed the following key recommendations:

  • Establish and/or use pain as quality indicator,
  • Reference the inclusion of standards for the management of cancer-related pain across Europe to improve cancer pain management
  • Make resources for cancer care services and treatments available
  • Encourage Member States to provide an appropriate level of education and training in pain assessment and management and other principles of palliative care to all healthcare professionals involved in the care or patients with cancer-related pain
  • Promote and allocate adequate funding to the development of pain research.


On the 3rd February 2021, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (ECBP) was launched. A month later, on the 2nd March, SIP held its virtual event entitled “Ensuring Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan Addresses Cancer Pain in Quality of Life, Survivorship, and Palliative Care” issuing several key recommendations to ensure the effective implementation of EBCP:

  1. Patients should have access to high-quality cancer pain management across Europe, throughout the cancer patient journey (from diagnosis to palliative care, and in survivorship)
  2. Civil society and patient associations should play a central role in the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (for example, via the Commission’s Stakeholder Contact Group and via opportunities arising from the new EU for Health Program 2021-2027)
  3. The ICD-11 classification of cancer-related pain, and exchange of best practices, such as the EFIC Standards for the management of cancer-related pain across Europe, should be considered during the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (for example, via Flagship 1 and the Knowledge Centre on Cancer)
  4. Pain, and in particular, cancer pain, should be adopted as a quality indicator in European health systems performance and assessment processes (for example, via Flagship 5 and the EU Network linking National Comprehensive Cancer Centres, and Flagship 9 and the Cancer Inequalities Registry)
  5. Cancer pain should be recognised as a cancer-related complication (for example, via Flagship 5 and the creation of new European Reference Networks looking at challenging cancer conditions)
  6. Specialised education and training for healthcare professionals in the field of pain management should be encouraged across Europe (for example, via Flagship 5 and the EUInter-speciality Cancer Training Programme)
  7. In the immediate future, continued engagement with governments across Europe via national representatives is critical for effective implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (for example via SIP National Platforms and SIP partner organisations’ national representatives)



Time To Act is a multi-lingual campaign, and SIP National Platforms are encouraged to participate in national events and activities. ECO has prepared accompanying data analysis, videos, and other resources in 30 languages, providing the opportunity to launch the campaign in local languages via social media channels. SIP also supports the campaign via its social media channels.

Discover the multilingual campaign here.

For more information, SIP National Platform colleagues should contact:

Ángela Cano Palomares, Advocacy and Projects Officer, Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) Europe, at European Pain Federation EFIC - angela.palomares@efic.org



Ensuring Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan Addresses Cancer Pain in Quality of Life, Survivorship, and Palliative Care

EFIC and Pain Alliance Europe surveys on COVID and pain

Time To Act Multilingual Campaign


  1. Societal Impact of Pain (SIP)
  2. Campaigns
  3. E.C.O Campaign
  4. Time To Act: Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from tackling cancer
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