27 May 2023

European Cancer Organisation President provides Cancer Plan update at Europa Uomo General Assembly

The case for the political prioritisation of prostate cancer in Europe has never been clearer, the President of the European Cancer Organisation told delegates at Europa Uomo’s General Assembly, held in Larnaca, Cyprus.

Andreas Charalambous’s presentation asked: is Europe’s “Beating Cancer Plan” hitting the mark, in terms of prostate cancer? His answer was: “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is the first step, but the journey is long.”

Charalambous, who is Associate Professor at the Department of Nursing at Cyprus University of Technology, summarised the many ways in which the Beating Cancer Plan aims to improve cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.

He focused on European Commission’s updated recommendation to extend targeted screening to prostate cancer, based largely on advice from its scientific advisory group SAPEA. SAPEA had said that organised screening would help address high levels of opportunistic PSA testing and therefore reduce overdiagnosis and harm.

However, the final EU Council recommendations stipulated a “stepwise approach”, including piloting and further research, to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of organised programmes based on PSA testing in combination with MRI as a follow up test. This has resulted in the three-year PRAISE-U project involving 25 institutions from 12 countries, and funded by the EU4Health programme.

“PRAISE-U’s mission is to design a nationally-tailored cost-effective early detection algorithm for EU prostate cancer screening, to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by prostate cancer, while avoiding overdiagnosis and overtreatment,” said Charalambous.

The framework was now set, he said, quoting call for action from the Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer campaign made last December, which said there was now a clear case for the political prioritisation of prostate cancer: “A unique opportunity exists in the current mandate for the EU to tackle prostate cancer as a political priority.”

“But is policy enough?” asked Charalambous. “Policy needs actions.”

He was speaking during a Masterclass programme organised as part of Europa Uomo’s General Assembly, held in Cyprus. Other speakers included Sophia C Kamran from Harvard Medical School, Emmanouil Alevroudis and Constantinos Zamboglou from the German Oncology Centre, and Europa Uomo Board members.