Launch of the National Cancer & Life Action Plan

Patient organisations, healthcare professionals and researchers joined forces today to present the National Cancer & Life Action Plan. Their message? Living with and after cancer is about more than survival. These experts, including researchers from the University of Twente, have come together to form the Cancer Survivorship Care Task Force.

Growing numbers of people are living with and after cancer

There are 800,000 people in the Netherlands who are living with cancer or who have had cancer at some point in their lives. This number is growing, and by 2030 it is expected to reach almost one million. The survival rate for many types of cancer has increased significantly in recent decades due to better options for detection and treatment. At the same time, research is providing an increasingly clear picture of how cancer and cancer treatments adversely affect a patient’s quality of life. These adverse effects include severe fatigue, fear of relapse, damaged nerves (neuropathy), problems with sexual intercourse and relationships, issues at work, and financial problems. Some treatments can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or of developing another form of cancer. This increases the burden of disease and can lead to a shorter life expectancy.

Many people are having to cope with the effects of cancer, some of which are long term. Living with and after cancer is about more than survival. It’s also about living your life. About participating in society as fully as possible during and after cancer treatment, in ways that give meaning to your life. This conviction lies at the heart of the National Cancer & Life Action Plan.

Exchanging knowledge and information

The researchers who participated in the plan have a clear message: knowledge about the effects of treatment and how they might be prevented needs to be shared more effectively. In this regard, it is important that data is readily available in digital form both to the patient and all healthcare providers involved, so that care can be coordinated more easily. Each and every patient should also have a single point of contact who can answer questions and provide appropriate referrals.

Working together

The National Action Plan was launched on 11 September 2020 at the webinar conference on Cancer & Life. The University of Twente wholeheartedly supports this initiative and endorses its viewpoints, along with IKNL (a Dutch quality institute for oncological and palliative research and practice), the umbrella organisations for Dutch hospitals, healthcare providers and patient organisations. Only by working together can we improve the chances of survival and quality of life of both current and former cancer patients.

The National Cancer & Life Action Plan is available on

Further details

If you have any questions, please contact dr Chantal Lammens at