Commission recommends action to improve cancer screening

The Commission has put forward a proposal for a Council Recommendation outlining best practice guidelines and quality standards for the screening of several cancer types. Cancer is responsible for the death of one million EU citizens annually, killing about one in four people in Europe.

According to the Commission, thanks to stepped-up efforts, cancer-specific mortality in Europe fell by 10 per cent between 1987 and 2000, while further reductions are possible if best practice in early detection is applied uniformly in all Member States. Hence this new proposal, which calls on EU Member States to implement effective screening programmes for breast cancer, colon cancer and cervical cancer. Although the Recommendation would not legally oblige Member States to implement such screening programmes, it would establish them as a political priority.

According to the WHO World Cancer report released in April 2003, one-third of cancer cases could be prevented if governments took further action to reduce tobacco consumption, promote a healthy lifestyle and diet, as well as through conducting regular screening for early detection (see also

EURACTIV, 7 April 2003).

The EU's Community Action Programme for Public Health (2003-2008) addresses, as a priority area, lifestyle-related health determinants, including smoking and nutrition.


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