Since the World Health Organisation first published its National Cancer Control Programmes: Policies and Managerial Guidelines in 2002, the role of these plans in national cancer policy has grown tremendously, particularly in Europe. Whereas only three Member States of the European Union had implemented a National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) in 2002, virtually all EU countries have taken decisive steps in this direction, in part thanks to the leadership EU-led initiatives such as the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer (EPAAC).
At their core, NCCPs aim to improve cancer control through better planning and coordination of the range of cancer services offered through the national health system, from prevention and health promotion to rehabilitation and palliative care services. This complex task requires action at all levels of the health system and beyond