The Guest Blog

Guest blogpost by Béatrice Tardieu, Senior Director for Communication & Public Affairs at Janssen, a pharmaceutical company, which is part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.

Every year, Cancer claims over 7 million lives. It’s a staggering number, and one that will only get worse. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that annual cancer cases will increase from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million within the next two decades.

When you consider that a patient will die of Cancer every 10 seconds over the next two decades, the need to uncover new approaches to address this scourge, and ensure patients are able to access innovative treatments, becomes increasingly important.

As we enter the European Week against Cancer, one of the most critical challenges confronting policymakers and health professionals is unlocking the data and trends that could help them to better mobilise the information and resources to attack this disease. Much of the data already exists. The challenge is making sense of it.

Today, digital technologies are helping organisations, patient groups and policymakers make smarter decisions by bringing together information and research that previously existed in silos or in formats that prevented analysts and researchers from connecting the dots or seeing the bigger picture.

More than a year after the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights was launched by the European Parliament, we are seeing the emergence of innovative tools designed to present disease information in ways not previously seen.

One such tool, the EU Disease Lens (, is re-shaping how disease information is compiled and presented, helping to provide answers to some of the most pressing questions confronting patients, policymakers and health practitioners, and offering new insights into issues that might otherwise remain invisible as well as a common platform to explore disease facts further.

Using data aggregated from public sources including the WHO, the European Commission, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the EU Disease lens covers four types of Cancer: Chronic Lymphoid Leukaemia, Prostate Cancer, Mantle Cell Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma. The findings, based on some simple comparisons, are startling:

  • Incidences of Prostate Cancer in Greece were more than 70% lower than in Belgium, Germany, France and the UK, based on the estimated age standardised rate (per 100000).
  • In Sweden, recorded deaths due to Multiple Myeloma, based on the estimated age standardised mortality rate (per 100,000), were more than 30% higher than in Bulgaria.


More importantly, this data is available to everyone, via any device, allowing them to access data, compare the results of their searches, and share this important data – in order to drive awareness, education and advocacy. In total, the EU Disease Lens covers 15 disease areas across 28 EU countries.

The EU Disease Lens, conceived by the Janssen Health Policy Centre, is a first step toward empowering the European healthcare community to unlock a deeper and broader debate around the true burden of diseases, and helping policymakers and healthcare professionals find and deliver the best possible health outcomes for EU citizens. To accomplish this, we must work together to combat the high-burden diseases with major impact on society, including cancer as well as diabetes, schizophrenia, hepatitis C, TB, various cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.

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