Digestive Health Community Support for the Proposed EU Cancer Screening Recommendations

November 7, 2022

In September, as part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the European Commission presented updated EU Cancer Screening Recommendations. The update aimed at ensuring that the latest scientific developments and evidence have been considered after 20 years since the last recommendations (2003).

However, in the last month, rumours have emerged that discussions in the Council are undermining the scientific evidence behind the European Commission’s proposal. Some actors were working on softening the language to make screening not as comprehensive as needed.

Digestive Cancers Europe and United European Gastroenterology (UEG) issued a letter of support for the European Commission’s proposal.

The final text will be voted on by the Member States in EPSCO on 9th December, and we are pleased that it appears that the text has been saved from ‘watering down.’

As a reminder, the proposed text in the area of digestive cancers introduces two notable changes:

  • Update on the CRC screening:
    The recommendation aims to increase the uptake of cancer screening for colorectal cancer (together with breast and cervical) to 90% of those who qualify by 2025. Calls for triage testing for colorectal cancer in people aged 50-74 through faecal immunochemical testing to determine potential follow-up via endoscopy/colonoscopy.
  • Introduction of gastric cancer screening:
    Screening for Helicobacter pylori and surveillance of precancerous stomach lesions in places with high gastric cancer incidence and death rates.

The European Commission has also foreseen financial support of €38,5 million for implementation under the EU4Health Programme and €60 million under Horizon Europe. In addition, the European Commission proposed additional funding for cancer screening under the 2023 EU4Health programme. Further support can also be provided from the European regional, cohesion, and social funds.

Ruel Jacob

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