18 November 2021

European Cancer Organisation urges improvements in early detection of prostate cancer

The EU has been urged to significantly update its cancer screening recommendations next year, in an authoritative new statement from the European Cancer Organisation (ECO). The update should include a “step change” improvement in detection of prostate cancer, the consensus document says.

The statement, compiled by ECO’s early detection and screening network, of which Europa Uomo is a member, has been published in response to Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, published in February.  The Cancer Plan pledged to update the European Council’s 2003 recommendation on cancer screening – including the possible addition of new cancers such as prostate – by 2022.

Now the ECO statement sets out a course for the EU to take with the new screening recommendations.  In particular, it should:

  • take “full account of evolutions in science and practice in currently recommended cancer screening programmes”;
  • foster “a step change improvement of early detection of lung and prostate cancer, as the most lethal, and most common male cancer types in Europe respectively, making best use of latest available evidence on the benefits of risk-based strategies to this aim”.

The forthcoming update of the EU recommendation on cancer screening presents an ideal moment to “leverage the well-demonstrated extended benefits of cancer early detection and screening towards a lower cancer burden in Europe and invigorate a brand-new agenda for the earlier detection of cancers across all of Europe,” says the statement, which was launched at ECO’s European Cancer Summit this week.

Introducing the new statement at the summit (pictured above), report author Isabel Rubio said: “We don’t want to make small adjustments to the EU Council recommendation made 18 years ago. We want to go further and for it to be updated for the future so that we can get ahead in cancer. We can go further in early detection and we can do it better.”