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On Tuesday 20 September, the European Commission proposed to EU Member States to list three additional types of cancer in the recommendations for early detection. In addition to colorectal, breast and cervix cancers, lung, prostate and, under certain conditions, stomach cancer would be added.
In 2020, six types of cancer were responsible for 51% of disease-related deaths in the European Union. For the European Commission, there is therefore an urgent need to step up its fight against cancer. To achieve this, it relies on the prevention and early detection of this disease, but also on treatment. She therefore wishes that in addition to colorectal, breast and cervix cancers, lung, prostate and, under certain conditions, stomach cancers are also screened.
Reinforced screening tests
Breast cancer screening, currently recommended for women aged 50 to 69, would be extended to all those in the 45 to 74 age group. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) would be recommended for women with particularly dense breasts.
For the cervix, preference would be given to screening for human papillomavirus (HPV, or papillomavirus) in women aged 30 to 65, every five years or more, over screening by Papanicolaou test . Finally, for colorectal cancer, it would be recommended to use faecal immunochemical tests in people aged 50 to 74 years instead of screening by fecal occult blood.
New screenings too
As for the types of cancers that would be newly included, the Commission recommends screening for smokers and ex-smokers who have quit in the last 15 years, aged 50 to 75, who have a smoking history of 30 packets. -years (equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 30 years).
It also proposes, for prostate cancer, to introduce a prostate-specific antigen test in men up to 70 years old, in combination with an additional MRI as a follow-up test.
Finally, in countries or regions where the incidence and mortality rate of stomach cancer are higher, the Commission puts forward the idea of introducing screening for the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Indeed, this bacterium can cause stomach ulcers and, in some cases, stomach cancer.
For other cancers, the available data do not yet justify population-wide screening, according to the Commission.
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Screening for 90% of those concerned
The European Commission therefore sees things on a grand scale and proposes that by 2025, the screening figures reach 90% of people concerned, and who therefore meet the conditions to be screened. To achieve this objective, the Commission is already advancing the figure of 100 million euros of budget.
Thereby, “the European Cancer Screening Program will cover types of cancer which together account for nearly 55% of all new cases diagnosed in the Union each year. Screening programs are fundamental to this, because early diagnosis saves lives. And we are all working together for this. These are recommendations gathered from the latest scientific data“, indicated the Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, during a press conference.
Finally, let us recall that according to estimates, one in two EU citizens should be confronted with cancer during their lifetime. The 27 EU Member States could adopt these new recommendations next December.