Prostate cancer patients, clinicians and researchers jointly praised the European Commission’s decision to extend a recommendation of organised cancer screening programmes to prostate cancer. The Commission has today published the update of the 2003 EU Council Screening Recommendations which adds prostate, lung and gastric cancers to the list to be addressed by the cancer screening recommendations (on top of breast, colorectal and cervical cancer).
In its update, the Commission has added Prostate Cancer to the list of programmes that will benefit from European guidelines and quality assurance work. The Commission also commits to supporting research on cancer screening, strengthening cooperation between EU Member States and overcoming legal and technical barriers to data sharing to support screening.
It now falls to EU Member States to accept these Recommendations and swiftly implement them in their own populations to save lives. This marks a great success of the EAU Policy Office’s advocacy campaign, partnered with patients, researchers, national societies on raising awareness of early detection of prostate cancer.
Günther Carl, Chairman, Europa Uomo
“For us, this recommendation to add prostate cancer screening to the list of cancers addressed by EU-wide guidance will be life-changing for men whose lives are impacted by prostate cancer. Many of us are only alive and active today because our cancers were detected early by elevated PSA levels. Prostate cancer has been a silent killer for too long. It also negatively impacts the quality of life of too many men and their families. Our patient-led surveys have shown that the best quality of life is obtained by men who have caught their cancer early and who can be treated on active surveillance or, if their cancer is of higher risk, with active treatment. Those patients with aggressive cancers that are caught too late, will suffer from many more side effects. We are delighted to see that prostate cancer has been added to the list.”
Prof Hendrik Van Poppel, Chair of the European Association of Urology’s Policy Office
“We warmly welcome the European Commission’s proposal to include PSA-based prostate cancer screening with a risk-adapted approach for follow-up in the update of the EU Screening Recommendations. Prostate cancer is the most common form of male cancer and is a serious condition that kills over 100,000 men each year in Europe. We are really excited to see the European Commission taking this approach.”
“We will now work closely with our National Urological Societies to support their national authorities to swiftly implement this recommendation and hope the “step-wise” approach to implementation will not lead to unnecessary delays. It means that we can catch aggressive cancers early, helping us to ensure men do not suffer and die from this disease unnecessarily. Additionally, the risk-adapted follow-up will help eliminate the concerns of overdiagnosis and over treatment. We are sure this approach will help us as clinicians to ensure better outcomes for men with prostate cancer.”
Prof Monique Roobol, Principal Investigator of the European Randomised Study for Screening of Prostate Cancer (ERSPC), Erasmus University Medical Centre
“The evidence generated by over 20 years of data coming from ERSPC shows that when PSA-based screening is well organised, there is a significant drop in mortality. The new tools which we have at our fingertips such as risk calculators and MRI make it easier to prevent overtreatment and overdiagnosis which was previously the argument against prostate cancer screening. This recommendation, taken on the basis of the opinion of the Commission’s Chief Scientific Advisors is a real milestone – it would mean that we could move forward with implementation of good quality screening programmes in Europe, resulting is less deaths from prostate cancer and a better quality of life for those touched by the condition.”