30 March 2020

Europa Uomo Board member Pentti Tuohimaa reports

Last year, Europa Uomo formally put its weight behind the cause of a Europe-wide PSA-based structured screening programme for prostate cancer. Now there are moves to make Finland the first European country to introduce such a structured programme.

Here, Europa Uomo Board member Pentti Tuohimaa from Finland provides an update on the situation.

“A year ago I wrote an entitled ‘Towards Prostate Cancer Screening in Europe’, published in several leading newspapers in Finland. The response was mainly positive and encouraging. One urology professor was very strongly against the proposal, but an officer at the Ministry of Health promised that screening would be included in the programme of the new government, formed at the end of spring 2019. However, prostate cancer screening was not on their agenda.

“On 4th March this year I once again made the proposal, in an article entitled ‘Prostate cancer screening has be initiated immediately’ published by the leading newspaper in Finland. This article was completely based on recommendations by the European Association of Urology (EAU) and Europa Uomo. After that, events have been fast.

“Unfortunately, three urologists and an epidemiologist replied that there is no scientific basis for the screening programme.  I asked them for the scientific reasoning behind their opinion – which is fully against that of EAU – but they have not replied. It means that the situation is currently very tense.”

“In March, a member of the Finnish Parliament, Sari Tanus also began to collect signatures from the other 200 members and collected 141 within days. That passes the 100 signatures needed to begin the process of introducing legislation.

Now the legislation is in the hands of Ministry officers and we are waiting for the next step.”