The right to be forgotten in cancer: What is it and why is it important?

The right to be forgotten in cancer: What is it and why is it important?

In the digital age, information flows at an astonishing speed and privacy becomes a precious commodity. In the case of people who have been confronted by a diagnosis of cancer, the right to oncological oblivion becomes even more crucial. This right refers to the possibility of requesting the removal of disease-related information, both online and in other records, once the disease has passed. In this article, we will explore in depth what the cancer right to be forgotten is, why it is important and how it can be exercised.

The right to be forgotten in cancer: What is it and why is it important?

The need to protect the privacy of cancer patients

A cancer diagnosis can be a difficult and stressful experience for anyone. In addition to the emotional and physical challenges associated with the disease, there are also practical implications to be considered.. For example, information related to cancer diagnosis and treatment may be shared in different settings, including medical records, insurance reports and online. This information can be valuable to doctors and other health professionals, but it can also be used by third parties for unintended purposes, such as the employment discrimination or violation of the privacy.

This is why the right to be forgotten in cancer is so important. It allows people who have survived the disease to control what information is shared about their diagnosis and treatment, and gives them the option to remove that information if they wish to do so. This can be particularly important in the context of social networking and other digital media, where information can spread quickly and may be difficult to remove.

Regulation in Spain and its differences with Europe

In Europe, the right to be forgotten is regulated in the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)which entered into force in April 2016. Under the GDPR, patients have the right to request the deletion of their personal data, including medical data, if it is no longer necessary for the original purpose for which it was collected or if the patient withdraws consent. In addition, following the European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2022 on reinforcing Europe's role in the fight against cancerParliament has requested that by 2025 at the latest, all Member States ensure the right to be forgotten for all patients. However, Spain is one of only three EU countries without specific legislation. 

The regulation of the right to be forgotten in our country is much more limited. Currently, in Spain, the only regulation that comes close to achieving this objective is the Law 4/2018which states that a person may not be discriminated against in the procurement of insurance because of HIV or other health conditions. But it does not say what other "health conditions".

This lack of specific regulation in Spain has generated controversy over the last few years, since Many patients have expressed concerns about the privacy of their medical data and the difficulty of controlling their own information. In addition, some patients have reported difficulties in accessing medical services or health insurance because of their medical history.

In response to these concerns, several patient organisations and privacy advocates have called for the inclusion of a specific regulation on the right to be forgotten in Spanish law. Although specific regulation has not yet been adopted, some courts have begun to recognise the right to be forgotten in individual cases, and it is expected that more extensive regulation will be adopted in the future.

As a result of the growing demand for this right and pressure from Europe, the current Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez announced on Saturday 13 May that the Right to Oncological Oblivion will become a reality in June of this year.. Its implementation will be carried out through the modification of the Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007, of 16 November, approving the revised text of the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users and other complementary laws.and of the Insurance Contract Act. For the time being these are just words that hopefully will not fall on deaf ears, currently as we have mentioned above we still have no specific regulation to protect those who have suffered from cancer.

In the meantime, legal experts have expressed concern by the lack of a clear regulation, as it may lead to legal uncertainty and make it difficult to apply the right to be forgotten consistently in individual cases. In addition, some critics argue that the right to be forgotten may limit freedom of expression and access to information, especially in the case of medical data relevant to research and treatment development.

How to exercise the right to be forgotten in cancer?

Exercising the right to be forgotten in cancer can be a complex process and varies according to jurisdiction and context. In general, it involves the deletion of personal information from relevant records and databases. This may include medical records, insurance reports, employment records and other documents containing information about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

In some cases, it will also be necessary to address information that has been published online. This may include social media posts, news articles and other content containing information about the disease. In these cases, the removal process can be more complicated and will likely require the assistance of a lawyer specialised in data protection.

It is important to note that the right to be forgotten in cancer does not always apply to all situations. For example, medical information that is necessary for ongoing treatment and care may not be removable. In addition, medical records and other documents may be subject to specific legal and regulatory requirements that limit the ability of individuals to control their disposal.

How we can help you protect the right to be forgotten in oncology

At Honoralia, we take the protection of our clients' privacy very seriously. We recognise that the right to be forgotten in oncology is an important issue and one that can be difficult to address, so we have developed a series of policies and procedures to ensure that our clients and patients have control over the information shared about its diagnosis and treatment.

First, we work with clients to ensure that any information related to your diagnosis and treatment is shared only with the health professionals necessary for your care. In addition, we offer additional privacy options, such as the ability to use a fictitious name on medical records and communications.

We also work with our clients to ensuring that they understand their rights in relation to the right to be forgotten in oncology and provide them with detailed information on how they can exercise that right in different contexts. If a patient wishes to exercise their oncology right to be forgotten, we will work with them to help them remove the relevant information from records, publications and any other databases.


In short, the right to oncological oblivion is an important issue concerning the ability of people who have survived a cancer diagnosis to control the information that is shared about their illness.

At Honoraliawe take very seriously the protection of privacy We work with our customers and work with them to ensure that they understand their rights and options in relation to the right to be forgotten in cancer. If you have any questions or concerns about this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

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