31 May 2023

European Health Commissioner addresses delegates at Europa Uomo General Assembly

The European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, called for more conversations about prostate cancer and a major effort to lower mortality rates, speaking at Europa Uomo’s General Assembly in Cyprus.

The Commissioner (pictured), a founding member of the first breast cancer advocacy organisation in Cyprus, Europa Donna Cyprus, paid tribute to Europa Uomo, saying that it had been formed 15 years ago “at a time when prostate cancer was shrouded in silence”.

“You have raised awareness on the importance of early detection, on the need to have optimal treatment, the importance of multidisciplinarity, the need to address issues related to quality of life,” she said.

“Perhaps what is most rewarding is to see the journey of Europa Uomo bringing those who have been through a prostate cancer diagnosis together setting up support networks, and turning their challenging life experience with this disease into a creative European advocacy organisation that makes a difference.”

Commissioner Kyriakides was one of several distinguished visitors attending the General Assembly, organised with Europa Uomo Cyprus, including the President of Cyprus and the Mayor of the City of Larnaca. The Cyprus President, Nikos Christodoulides, welcomed delegates and described health facilities in the country and current initiatives to detect cancers early.

The event attracted 60 Europa Uomo delegates from member organisations across Europe, along with invited visitors and media from Cyprus.

Commissioner Kyriakides said that Europa Uomo was not alone in tirelessly campaigning for effective prostate cancer early detection programmes across Europe.

“We are taking concrete steps to support citizens and Member States’ health systems,” she said, adding that the Commission’s specific recommendations for prostate cancer screening at EU level had now led to an evaluation of how organised prostate cancer screening programmes can be implemented in a feasible and cost-effective way.

“We have also provided funding for a joint action on cancer screening with Member States. This action aims to support the implementation of the new screening recommendations, including the possibility of further research into prostate cancer screening programmes.”

“In addition, we will soon start to work on European guidelines and quality assurance schemes on prostate cancer screening and care.”

She concluded: “We need to all work together, sharing best practices and experience is the surest path to success – and Cyprus and Europa Uomo have so much learning and expertise to share with the world.”

The speeches from dignitaries preceded a packed scientific programme, including presentations on radiotherapy and new imaging techniques from the German Oncology Center in Cyprus, and then the Europa Uomo business meeting. The prostate cancer organisation from Estonia was admitted as an associate member, and the organisation from Malta was admitted as a supporting member.

The programme also included a social evening, with traditional Cypriot food and dancing, and a visit to the German Oncology Hospital in Limassol with medical presentations about prostate cancer treatments.

Guenther Carl, Europa Uomo Chairman, says many people found it difficult to leave. “The feedback we got from everyone was that they had enjoyed it, and many said it was the best General Assembly ever.”

“On a practical side, we were able to talk to many delegates and assure them that if they needed assistance in talking to government officials about prostate cancer early detection programmes, myself and other Board members are available to help.”

Watch Europa Uomo Cyprus's video of the event below.