Urgent action on prostate screening needed

Europa Uomo has joined with European urological associations, scientific experts, policy makers and other patient organisations to call for national screening programmes for prostate cancer across Europe.

In a new policy paper, launched in the European Parliament with support from MEPs, the organisations say that the European Parliament and EU member states should ensure that the European Commission considers whether PSA-based screening should be implemented at European level.

The paper was issued jointly by Europa Uomo, Cancer Control Joint Action, the European Cancer Patient Coalition and the European Association of Urology (EAU) at a special event to mark European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day (EPAD). “The European Union can no longer continue to overlook the most common cause of cancer in men in Europe,” says the policy paper.

Europa Uomo representatives at the EPAD meeting at the European Parliament

Action is urgent in the light of new evidence from the European Randomised Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer that PSA screening reduces prostate cancer mortality by 21%. “As such, PSA screening results in mortality reduction are obviously better than in breast or colon cancer screening,” says the paper.

Europa Uomo Chair André Deschamps, who spoke at the EPAD event, said that this was a major policy change for organisations such as EAU, driven by developing scientific evidence. EAU will be updating their guidelines for presentation at their annual conference in March.

“We hope that the paper will bring prostate cancer and the awareness of it to a higher level,” said Deschamps. “The proposals, if introduced, will limit overtreatment and will encourage early detection so that the effect of the cancer is minimised.” He said that, during discussions, Europa Uomo had been particularly keen that the paper emphasised that early detection improved quality of life as well as reducing mortality.

At his presentation during the EPAD meeting, Deschamps explained how Europa Uomo is urging action from policy makers and policy makers on three fronts:

  • Increasing awareness
  • Promoting informed PSA-led early detection
  • Ensuring treatment of prostate cancer in multidisciplinary cancer centres.

Now was the time action. “We want MEPs to go back to their governments and require change,” he said.

Based on the paper’s recommendations, the MEPs at the EPAD meeting, Dubravka Šuica and Lieve Wierinck, promised to include this topic in their campaigns for the next elections. The Innovative Partnership for Action Against Cancer (IPAAC) also committed to including population-based PSA screening on their political agenda as part of the Third Health Programme 2014–2020 by the European Commission.

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