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2025: EU-wide regulations
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2025: EU-wide regulations

The right to be forgotten: this right proposes that, after a reasonable period of time of being in remission, cancer-related medical records must be made inaccessible to third parties to prevent this information from being used against the cancer patient

Solange Vázquez

Friday, 2 February 2024, 12:40

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In February of last year, the European Parliament passed a resolution giving EU member states up to 2025 to legislate for the right to be forgotten. To be exact, this right proposes that, after a reasonable period of time of being in remission, cancer-related medical records must be made inaccessible to third parties not directly involved in healthcare to prevent this information from being used against the cancer patient.

Spain has espoused this right with its recent entry into law by royal decree (May 2023). The remission period has been reduced to five years, matching that of France. Applying the law, however, is another matter. “It is essential to refine the regulations such as eliminating uncertainties in the use of some terms and establishing the precise point from which the five-year remission period must be counted,” warns César A. Rodríguez, president of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM). In other words, there is lots to do to guarantee that it does not end up dead in the water.

In closing, Dr Ramón Reyes, president of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), points out that the right to be forgotten as a cancer survivor “is a very positive development, but it is important to advise patients as to how best to use it”. In Spain, the increase in cancer survival rates presents us with a new reality: returning to work. More than 38% of those newly diagnosed with cancer are of working age and, once treatment is completed, they face difficulties in maintaining or recouping their working lives. “It is essential that public bodies and companies collaborate to facilitate any adjustment needed to continue in that job, a phased return to work and psychological support for these survivors”.

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