Expert Group calls for urgent implementation of new European Union (EU) guidance on risk-based prostate cancer screening across EU member states
The Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer Expert Group shares three new calls to action for European and national policymakers and parliamentarians to prioritise prostate cancer on political agendas, support deeper understanding of healthcare inequalities, and implement the EU’s new screening recommendation in national cancer plans
5th January 2023. Each year, approximately 1 in 10 male cancer deaths are as a result of prostate cancer.1 It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Europe,2 with rising numbers of ‘too late’ diagnoses and mortality from prostate cancer3 exacerbated by poor access to screening, delayed diagnoses and treatment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.4
In fact, a recent report from the Lancet Oncology Commission states that the disastrous effects of the pandemic on early diagnosis and treatment could set back cancer outcomes in Europe by almost a decade, making urgent action across all cancers a crucial priority.5
Certainly, the economic impact of prostate cancer is significant, representing an annual cost of over €9 billion in the EU, of which direct healthcare costs account for €5.8 billion.2 The stigma associated with the side effects of prostate cancer treatment, such as sexual dysfunction, is multifaceted and significantly impacts patient quality of life.
The publication of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan6 and of the updated EU cancer screening guidelines,7 along with the renewed focus on EU health policy, all mark important steps towards the eradication of inequalities in cancer diagnosis and treatment. For the first time, the new screening recommendations calls for population-based organised cancer screening to include lung, prostate and, under certain circumstances, gastric cancers.7
Given the scope of the initial proposal for prostate cancer was reduced by the Council of Ministers, it is important to raise awareness of academic research and screening pilot programmes which demonstrate the efficacy and safety of risk-based prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer patients, based on factors such as PSA level, family history, ethnicity, gene mutation and prostate size.8
Now, the Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer Expert Group has launched 3 key Calls to Action for EU and national policymakers, encouraging decision-makers to urgently implement each of these recommendations, incorporating them into their EU, national and regional level activity:
- Prioritise prostate cancer on political agendas.
- Support deeper understanding of healthcare inequalities.
- Implement the new EU guidance on risk-based prostate cancer screening in national cancer plans.
Early detection of prostate cancer is key to improving quality of life and survival rates for men across Europe,9 yet despite the scale of the disease, prostate cancer has not received the attention it deserves. Implementing the EU screening recommendations in national cancer plans is an urgent priority. The time to act is now.
Learn more about the work of the LTPC Expert Group and the Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer initiative here.
Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., Amgen Inc., and Pfizer Inc. support the goals and objectives of the Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer Expert Group. The activities of the Expert Group are funded by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. and Amgen Inc.
About the Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer Campaign
The Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer (LTPC) Expert Group brings together stakeholders from key organisations in the field of prostate cancer, which works to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with prostate cancer in Europe.
The following organisations are represented within the LTPC expert group:
- European Association of Urology
- European Association of Urology Nurses
- European Oncology Nursing Society
- Europa Uomo
- Wij Ook
1 Ferlay J, Colombet M, Soerjomataram I, et al. Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries and 25 major cancers in 2018. Eur J Cancer. 2018;103:356-387. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2018.07.005. Available at: Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries and 25 major cancers in 2018 - PubMed (nih.gov). Last accessed December 2022
2 European Association of Urology, White paper on prostate cancer, recommendations of the EU cancer plan to tackle prostate cancer 2020. Available at: https://sbu.be/media/pages/documents/eau-white-paper-prostate-cancer/f7c96990d9-1607584796/eau_pca-whitepaper-final-version_may2020.pdf Last accessed December 2022
3 European Association of Urology (3 February 2021) Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan brings hope for better prostate cancer outcomes. Available at: https://epad.uroweb.org/europes-beating-cancer-plan-brings-hope-better-prostate-cancer-outcomes/ Last accessed November 2022
4 European Cancer Organisation. Covid-19 and cancer data intelligence. Available at:
https://www.europeancancer.org/timetoact/impact/data-intelligence Last accessed: November 2022. REF-23896
5 The Lancet Oncology Commission. European Groundshot-addressing Europe’s cancer research challenges: a Lancet Oncology Commission. https://www.thelancet.com/commissions/European-Groundshot-cancer-research. Last accessed December 2022
6 European Commission. Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. Available at: https://health.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2022-02/eu_cancer-plan_en_0.pdf Last accessed December 2022.
7 European Commission. European Health Union: A new EU approach on cancer detection – screening more and screening better. September 2022. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_5562 Last accessed December 2022
8 European Association of Urology. 2022. EAU22 Press release: New research supports risk-based prostate cancer screening. Available at: https://eaucongress.uroweb.org/eau22- press-release-new-research-supports-risk-based-prostate-cancer-screening/. Last accessed December 2022
9 Van Poppel H, Roobol MJ, Chapple CR, et al. 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. Eur. Urol. 2021; 80: 703-711. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0302283821019278?via%3Dihub. Last accessed December 2022
MAT-UK-NON-2022-00330. January 2023