In February 2021, on the eve of world cancer day, the European Commission presented its Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, which amongst others includes the pillar “early detection”. The Commission aims to propose an update on the European Council’s Recommendation on cancer screening by 2022, including the potential addition of new cancers such as prostate cancer.
If Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan can harmonize an approach across the EU with regards to early detection of prostate cancer, The European Association of Urology believe this will not only decrease mortality from prostate cancer, but also support EU member states to sort out the current mess of opportunistic testing for prostate cancer. Opportunistic testing has proven to be ineffective, with only a small mortality reduction and a considerable risk of overdiagnosis. The co-signatories of this statement stand prepared to work with the Commission to provide scientific evidence and guidance on a clear and strategic approach to early detection of prostate cancer throughout Europe. Over the summer months of 2021, the EAU has been working with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to introduce a clear and strong political message to the European Commission and Council of the European Union that the time has come for prostate cancer to be added to the list of cancers addressed in the EU Screening Recommendations. December 2021, the amendments to the BECA Committee’s report came in, and we are delighted to see strong support from MEPs for our proposals, and we are happy that these amendments will make it into the final report. The final amendment on early detection, which was voted on unanimously by all MEPs, draws on input received from EAU advocacy. It references important new early detection techniques such as risk-stratified approaches and risk calculators.[2,3] The amendment specifically encourages EU member states to consider early detection of prostate cancer (along with lung cancer) when the European Commission’s update of the EU Cancer Screening Recommendations will be published next year.
- Prostate-specific Antigen Testing as Part of a Risk-Adapted Early Detection Strategy for Prostate Cancer: European Association of Urology Position and Recommendations for 2021. Van Poppel H, Roobol MJ, Chapple CR, Catto JWF, N’Dow J, Sonken J, Stenzl A, With M. Eur Urol. 2021; 80: 703-711.