24 November 2022

Fears that prostate cancer early detection proposals are being ‘diluted’

Europa Uomo has expressed its concern following indications that the European Commission’s recommendations for prostate cancer early detection programmes in all EU countries are being “watered down” before final publication.

At the European Cancer Summit hosted by the European Cancer Organisation (ECO), there was widespread consternation expressed about the final shape of the updated EU cancer screening recommendations, due to be published this month,.

ECO President Andreas Charalambous said: “Feelings are running very high in the European Cancer community about this last-minute diluting of the Commission's proposed text for new recommendations on cancer screening, especially as the original text was based upon the results of the EU's thorough Scientific Advice Mechanism.”

“After all the transparent process and consultation conducted by the European Commission, we now discover that in the very final stages, major policy reversals are being finalised behind closed doors. We call for transparency, accountability and for national representatives to urgently meet with leaders of Europe's oncology professional, scientific and cancer patient societies.”

It is believed that the Commission’s proposal has been re-written to contradict advice provided by the EU’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, particularly with regards to the addition of new cancer screening programmes for prostate, lung and gastric cancer.

The scientific bodies that advised the European Commission gave presentations during the summit (Rebecca Fitzgerald from the independent science advisory group SAPEA pictured). Eva Kondorosi from the EU's group of scientific advisors said: "There is sound scientific basis for introducing lung, prostate and gastric cancer screening."

ECO has published an open letter for distribution to representatives of EU Member State governments, officials at the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament, calling for urgent action to protect the strength of the European Commission’s original proposals, published in September 2022.

Europa Uomo Vice Chairman Erik Briers, who attended the European Cancer Summit, commented: “Europa Uomo sincerely hopes that all the scientific advice stands and will lead to a clear advice to the member states to adopt screening for prostate, lung and gastric cancer. In this way, men will be spared being diagnosed with a metastasised prostate cancer that will lead to much unnecessary suffering and an early death.”