The House of Data Imperiali bulletins are extracts from the articles of the Legal Information Service (SIG) edited by Mr. Rosario Imperiali d’Afflitto.

The SIG is available by subscription only.

For further information, please email:

The right to be forgotten for former cancer patients

On Dec. 18, 2023, the Italian official gazette published Law No. 193/2023, which introduces the right to be forgotten for former cancer patients into Italy’s legal system.

Thus comes to a successful conclusion a parliamentary initiative promoted by multiple sources, already in the past legislature, and with the unanimous vote of political forces.

Embraced as a project of legal civilization, the provision aims to protect the rights of individuals cured of cancer and to prevent forms of discrimination against them. To this end, it introduces the new right to be forgotten for former cancer patients under which the collection, request and use of information on the oncological health status of individuals who have now recovered from the disease is prohibited.

The application cases under the law are:

  • Contracting of banking, financial, investment and insurance services (art. 2, l. no. 193/2023)
  • Adoption procedures (art. 3, l. no. 193/2023)
  • Competitive and selective hiring procedures (Article 4, l. no. 193/2023).

Practice to be remedied

Despite a complete clinical recovery, the terms of which are established by law, many people who have overcome cancer encounter discrimination in the exercise of their rights, especially with regard to access to financial, banking and insurance services, as well as access to child adoption procedures and competitive and selective hiring procedures.

As noted by the Permanent Observatory on the Welfare Condition of Cancer Patients, cancer survivors often find obstacles in opening or maintaining a health insurance policy for illness or a life insurance policy, or have additional charges or guarantees imposed on them to access financial or banking services, such as typically taking out mortgages. For example, it is a well-known business practice to make taking out mortgages conditional on taking out a life insurance policy, or the application will be rejected.

Regulatory framework

The regulations on the right to be forgotten for former cancer patients aim to remove obstacles that limit the equality of these individuals, whose life expectancy has increased, in implementation of Article 3 of our Constitution on equality and equal social dignity.

The regulatory framework in which the right to oncological oblivion is framed is identified by the legislature:

  • in the Italian Constitution, in particular in articles
    • 2, on the recognition of inviolable human rights
    • 3, on equality and equal social dignity
    • 32, on the fundamental right to health protection.
  • In the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, particularly in articles
    • 7, about respect for private and family life
    • 8, about the protection of personal data
    • 21, on non-discrimination
    • 35, concerning the protection of health
    • 38, on consumers protection.
  • In the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), particularly in Article 8 on the right to respect for private and family life (Art. 1.1, l. No. 193/2023).