European Parliament Spotlight Falls on Cancer Prevention

19 February 2020

With political attention currently high on the possibilities for new EU cancer policies as a result of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the European Cancer Organisation was invited to convene experts to address the European Parliament on cancer prevention.

Speaking on modifiable risk factors, Dr Joachim Schüz of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) highlighted the major modifiable risk factors in respect to cancer prevention, with increased action against tobacco making up by far the largest opportunity for improvement.

He also highlighted the range of activity conducted by the Association of European Cancer Leagues in promoting the European Code Against Cancer. This has included the creation of interactive maps to demonstrate performance by individual countries in taking active policy measures in the 12 identified areas for cancer prevention attention highlighted by the Code.

Stefan Gijssels, Executive Director of Digestive Cancers Europe and Co-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation's Patient Advisory Committee, spoke of the challenges in achieving behaviour changes in citizens in the areas of major relevance for colorectal cancer, such as making in improvements to their dietary and exercise habits. This points strongly to the need for more understanding of behavioural science, pyschology and implementation science.

Professor Daniel Kelly, Co-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation's HPV Action Network, outlined the opportunity for the Europe's Beating Cancer Plan to adopt the inspiring goal of eliminating HPV caused cancers in Europe, linked to the WHO Cervical Cancer elimination goal.

Professor Pamela Kearns, President of the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe) spoke of the need to invest in greater understanding of cancer causation, with many ‘known unknowns’ remaining, including the mechanisms of causation as related to childhood cancer.

A webcast of the workshop is available here.