18 November 2022

More research needed into why people do not take up screening opportunities

A commission of experts including patient representatives have said that the COVID-19 pandemic may set back European cancer outcomes by almost a decade, and have called for the prioritisation of neglected cancer research areas such as prevention, early diagnosis, radiotherapy and surgery. There also needs to be a deeper focus on survivorship.

Their report into cancer research challenges, named European Groundshot, was commissioned by the prestigious journal Lancet Oncology and launched at the European Cancer Organisation’s European Cancer Summit (pictured). It predicts that late diagnosis and altered treatments will affect patient outcomes in the next decade.

It says that up to one million European citizens might have an undiagnosed cancer due to the cancer backlog caused by COVID-19, and calls for a significant reprioritisation of cancer prevention, screening and early detection research.

“Up to one third of cancer cases in Europe are more likely to have a better outcome if they are detected early but, disappointingly, we find that rates of screening tests vary widely between different European countries,” said one of the authors, Anna Schmutz of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. She called for more research on why people do not take up screening opportunities.