As of April 2024, eight Member States have taken legal measures to counter financial discrimination against cancer survivors. France was the first to act on the matter and passed a law on the Right to be Forgotten for cancer survivors in January 2016, Belgium followed suit in March 2018. From January 2021, the Netherlands adopted the ‘clean-slate policy’, implementing the Right to be Forgotten, with the Portuguese policymakers adopting the law in January 2022. Romania passed a similar law in July 2022, making it a pioneering country in the CEE region. The most recent EU countries which adopted the law are Spain (July 2023), Cyprus (November 2023) and Italy (December 2023).

Adopted legislative pieces vary depending on the implementing country, rendering it challenging to develop an EU-wide definition of the right to be forgotten. The common point, however, remains the same: to protect cancer survivors against financial discrimination, after a specific period has passed.

For individuals who were diagnosed with cancer as adults, the situation is as follows: adults’ medical history would be forgotten after 10 years (the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus), 8 years (Belgium), 7 years (Romania) or 5 years (France and Spain) and without any evidence of relapse or recurrence. 

Special conditions were developed in some countries for young people, offering shorter delays. In Romania, if cancer was diagnosed before the age of 18, the right to be forgotten would apply from 5 years after the end of treatment. In Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Cyprus, a similar shorter period applies for a diagnosis before the age of 21. 

In addition, France, Belgium and the Netherlands have developed reference grids that provide specific conditions for non-invasive cancers, shortening the time between the end of treatment and the application of the right to be forgotten. These lists include specific conditions and shorter delays for cancers with an excellent prognosis. These lists of exceptions are reviewed either annually or every 2 years according to medical progress and statistics (mortality rate). 

Some countries foresee maximum amounts that can be borrowed for cancer survivors to benefit from the law. In the Netherlands for example, mortgages cannot exceed 278.004€ (adjusted once every three years) per person, while there is no limit in Belgium. 

Belgium is the only country with a legal framework in place where cancer survivors are obligated to communicate their cancer history for all insurance (in France, Spain, Romania, the Netherlands and Portugal, cancer survivors have the right not to disclose it when applying for life insurance). In France, the situation has evolved through the years, and now cancer survivors are exempt from notifying their cancer history in medical questionnaires after the five-year recovery period for the insurance contracts occurring before the borrower’s 71st birthday, and for any loan with a maximum amount of 200,000€ per person and when the loan matures before the loaner’s 60th birthday, medical questionnaires are abandoned.

Other countries have adopted non-legislative frameworks which take the form of Conventions between the government and insurers (Luxembourg) and self-regulatory codes of conduct (Ireland, Denmark, Czechia). 

Click on the map below to find more information about existing provisions throughout the EU. 

MEASURES IN PLACE IN THE EU (click on individual countries for more details)


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Legislation adopted in 2019

Legal Ref. : Law no. C − 2019/40839, 4 April 2019.

Promulgated in April 2019 and entered in force in February 2020, the Law modified the Insurance regulation (Loi relative aux assurance, C − 2014/11239, 4 Avril 2014) and reformed article 61.

The provisions are applicable to insurance contracts concerning mortgage and professional loans.

The provisions in articles 61/1 and 61/2 introduced the interdiction for insurance companies to take into account previous cancer pathologies after 10 years from the end of the successful treatment and the absence of relapse within the same period. It is considered a successful treatment the period from the end of the active treatment and the absence of a new manifestation of the pathology. When seeking financial products, cancer survivors by law must mention their previous condition, however, they cannot be discriminated against them. In addition, the Belgian regulation does not provide a limitation for the amount covered by insurance repayment contracts.

In May 2019, according to article 61/3, the regulation has been implemented through the adoption of a reference table (Doc. No. C − 2019/12990), which, similar to the French reference grid, determines a reduced term to apply the Right to be forgotten for specific cancer diseases. Every two years, the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) assesses the reference table based on the medical progress and the available scientific data relating to the pathologies referred. The Belgian monitoring office of pricing (Bureau du suivi de la tarification) is in charge of the disputes relating to the application of the concerned provisions.
The reference grid (17-07-2023) can be found here.

In April 2022, KCE lead a first assessment focused on early stage breast cancer. Based on a careful analysis of survival curves for this type of cancer, KCE researchers have come up with proposals to shorten the waiting period which would potentially affect around 50% of breast cancer patients.

From February 2022, the Belgian association of insurers, Assuralia, adopted a code of conduct extending the application of the Right to be forgotten also to guarantee income disability insurance for people cured of cancer. The guaranteed income (or incapacity for work) insurance is insurance which, in the event of illness or accident, provides full or partial compensation for the reduction or loss of professional income due to the incapacity for work of the insured person (Article 201, §1, 2) of the Law of 4 April 2014 on insurance).

The code is binding on all insurance companies that are members of Assuralia. Belgium represents the first EU country to adopt such a code of conduct.

On 27 October 2022, the Belgian Parliament adopted a law (Law no. C − 2022/34022) aimed at broadening the Law of 4 April on the right to be forgotten in the context of insurance. With this law, the time that cancer survivors have to wait until they are “forgotten” was immediately lowered to eight years, and 5 years if the cancer diagnosis is done before the age of 21 years. In addition, it will be further reduced to five years from 1 January 2025 regardless of the age of diagnosis.

When it comes to breast cancer survivors, Belgium took a step further in June 2023 when the Minister of Health and Social Affairs and the Minister of Economy and Employment advocated for a “faster” right to be forgotten for breast cancer survivors. Indeed, for individuals with breast cancer in situ, where the tumour is confined to its original tissue, the waiting period will be completely eliminated, and for breast cancer that has spread to other tissues but is still small or diagnosed early, the waiting time will be reduced to just 1 year.


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Overview of Cyprus

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Overview of Czechia 

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Overview of Denmark 

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Overview of France 

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In discussion. 


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Overview of Ireland

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Legislation adopted in 2023

On December 5, 2023, the Italian Senate unanimously approved the right to be forgotten for cancer patients with 139 votes in favor. The initiative began in August 2023 when the Chamber of Deputies granted its initial approval.


The new law stipulates that individuals who have successfully completed cancer treatment and have been in remission for over ten years are now exempt from disclosing their cancer history when obtaining insurance, applying for a mortgage, or pursuing adoption. The same applies to paediatric cancer survivors after five years from the end of treatment.

The law was published in the Official Journal on 18 December 2023, and will be in force starting from 2 January 2024.

References Official Journal reference


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Overview of Luxembourg

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Overview of Malta

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Overview of Netherlands

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Overview of Portugal

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Overview of Romania

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In discussion. 


Overview of Spain

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