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Italy passes ‘right to be forgotten’ law for cancer survivors

Italy will pass a law on the “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) for cancer survivors, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni pledged on Tuesday, in a move designed to shield recovering patients from discrimination by banks or insurance companies.

According to campaigners, there are more than 900,000 cancer survivors in Italy who may face difficulties when taking out insurance or a loan, or applying for adoption, because of their health history.

Meloni said in a statement that her government was looking “very carefully” at draft laws on RTBF, and said she had tasked Health Minister Orazio Schillaci to follow their progress through parliament and offer them the “necessary support”.


“Our goal is to have in place in the shortest time possible a law that can give answers to an extremely real problem that greatly affects the lives of many Italians,” the prime minister added.

A patient is seen during a stereotactic radiotherapy treatment

A patient is seen during a stereotactic radiotherapy treatment at the Hillman Cancer Center San Pietro in Rome, Italy on May 25, 2020.  (REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo)

The proposals would allow recovering cancer patients not to share information about their previous condition with financial institutions, or adoption authorities, provided that 5-10 years had passed since the end of their medical treatment.


Similar laws are already in place in France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal, according to the Italian Medical Oncology Association (AIOM), which is campaigning for the reform.

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