Improving cancer screening in the European Union. Evidence Review Report

Improving cancer screening in the European Union
SAPEA Evidence Review Report#

In a new advice published today, the Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism recommends improvements to existing screening programmes for cervical cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer — by adopting new technologies, expanding the age range of screening, and optimising how frequently people are screened depending on age, sex and previous test results.

Furthermore, the experts found a strong scientific basis for introducing life-saving screening programmes in EU member states for both lung cancer and prostate cancer.

The field of cancer screening is rapidly evolving, and in 2022 the European Commission will make a proposal to update the Council Recommendation on cancer screening to ensure it reflects the latest available scientific evidence. In support of this, the Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors requested the Scientific Advice Mechanism to provide evidence to answer the following questions:

  • How can cancer screening programmes targeting breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, be improved throughout the EU?
  • What is the scientific basis for extending such screening programmes to other cancers and ensuring their feasibility throughout the EU?
  • Which are the main scientific elements to consider, and best practices to promote, for optimising risk-based cancer screening and early diagnosis throughout the EU?

Leading cancer experts from across the world discussed these questions and the latest scientific progress in a series of three full-day scientific meetings held at the end of 2021, chaired jointly by Professors Rebecca Fitzgerald (University of Cambridge) and Harry de Koning (Erasmus MC Medical Centre, Rotterdam), under the auspices of FEAM.

The experts’ conclusions, supported by a review of the scientific literature conducted by Cardiff University, are detailed in the latest SAPEA Evidence Review Report. This evidence in turn informs the Scientific Opinion of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, also published today (2 March).

Explore our Report and the Scientific Opinion and learn more about what the evidence suggests for successful screening programmes across Europe.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 737432. This newsletter reflects only the author's view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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