General Assembly backs Europe-wide prostate screening

Europa Uomo put its weight behind the cause of a Europe-wide population-based structured screening programme for prostate cancer at its General Assembly in Birmingham last weekend. Representatives of its member organisations voted in favour of the policy, which will be reflected in campaigning over the coming years.

Chairman André Deschamps reviewed the organisation’s progress over the past year and its growth in membership. Around 50 representatives from Europa Uomo’s 27 member organisations attended the event, with four organisations admitted as new members: prostate cancer patient organisations from Bulgaria, Iceland, Armenia and Latvia.

Deschamps highlighted moves by the medical profession towards organised screening, which he said would greatly reduce the overtreatment which blighted the lives of so many men and their partners.

Early detection and screening were also the subject of a successful Masterclass discussion session. Professor Monique Roobol from the Urology Department at Erasmus University, the Netherlands, called for population-based structured screening programmes that did not result in unnecessary biopsy and overtreatment. There was potential for this kind of screening to be more effective in prostate cancer than breast and bowel cancer, she said.

Psycho-oncologist Dr Tanya Estape from FECOC, the Spanish foundation against cancer, talked about the psychological phases experienced by men with prostate cancer. Patient perspectives on active surveillance and late diagnosis were provided by Tom Hope and John Dowling from Men Against Cancer in Ireland.

Renete Ilievea from the Bulgarian Association for Patient Defence addresses the meeting

“There was a real buzz at the event,” said John Dowling, who stepped down as Europa Uomo Secretary. “The significant presence of women participants and delegates at this year’s General Assembly was noticeable and very welcome. It was very gratifying to see that men were now happy to discuss the details of their experiences in front of mixed audience.”

Other decisions and discussion at the General Assembly included:

  • Members were guided through the forthcoming Europa Uomo quality of life survey, and the plan for promoting it.
  • New positions on the Europa Uomo Board were agreed. The new Secretary is Will Janssen. Ernst-Günther Carl is the Vice Chairman for the member survey. John Dowling is the new Vice Chairman for communication. And Nils Petter Sjøholt from Norway is the new board member.
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