After a few weeks of suspense as EU member state governments intensely discussed and deliberated on the European Commission’s proposal on ‘A new EU approach on cancer detection’, the Ministers of Health from all 27 EU Member States have today (9 December) agreed on the final version.
Some of the new cancers to be addressed, namely lung, prostate and gastric cancers were among the most contentious parts of the negotiations. However, we are pleased to announce that Prostate Cancer remains on the list of cancers that will benefit from EU wide guidance and quality assurance work on early detection.
This is a significant milestone for European urology. Thanks to the perseverance of the EAU Policy Office, the European Commission will assist EU member states to turn the tide on ‘too late’ diagnosis, and rising mortality rates. This will also to limit the costs and harms of opportunistic screening (otherwise known as wild screening, the opposite of organised screening).
Credit must be given to the Czech Presidency of the EU that has supported EU governments in negotiating a compromise. The decision agreed today will allow for increased knowledge sharing on early detection of Prostate Cancer across EU member states, and EU wide guidance on the most up to date scientific consensus on the best algorithm for risk stratified early detection. This EU wide guidance will be coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) which will start a process to formally recruit support from the scientific community and the EAU will stand ready to support this.
Similar schemes already exist for breast, colorectal and cervical cancer, and we hope that today’s decision will lead us closer to a European Initiative on Prostate Cancer (this already exists for breast and colorectal cancer). The EAU will continue to work with researchers and scientists, national urological societies, Prostate Cancer patient organisations (like Europa Uomo) and national public health and screening agencies to ensure that that organised Prostate Cancer screening pilots bring benefits to men and their families impacted by this condition.
Further to the Prostaforum in Prague hosted by our Czech colleagues, a call for action statement has been prepared. We would like to encourage all Presidents of National Societies to support this declaration on behalf of your organisation to support this initiative. It takes 30 seconds to fill in the online form. Please do feel free to distribute this to all organisations who will be interested to sign.