Prevention, Early Detection and Screening Network

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Why this Network?

Primary prevention interventions, aimed at preventing the onset of cancer through action on modifiable risk factors, are the most cost-effective strategy in the control of cancer. These notably include population-wide awareness campaigns, such as the European Code Against Cancer, and legislative or regulatory initiatives, such as on tobacco control, alcohol, improving diet and encouraging exercise.

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Watch the recording from the Primary Prevention Meeting on 28 May 2021 here, read the Report here and visit the Primary Prevention Hub, consisting of videos, documents or resources on the topic of Primary Prevention.

Secondary prevention measures, such as cancer screening, and other policies aimed at achieving earlier diagnosis of cancer can also help to achieve dramatically improved outcomes for patients.

However, policy recommendations in these areas are not always without controversy. The Prevention Network, bringing together a wide range of experts and stakeholders, from the European Cancer Organisation Member Societies, Patient Advisory Committee and Community 365, has therefore been established with a core potential role of driving fresh and stronger consensus in areas chosen by its participants for focus.


Adopting a Holistic Approach to Cancer Prevention

Following a meeting of interested Member Societies and Patient Advocates in mid-July 2020, the immediate initial focus of the Network was identified as secondary cancer prevention (screening and early diagnosis).  Additional work on primary prevention, amplifying the existing activities of Network participants and promoting collaboration with other international organisations, is also planned in 2021.

A major output of the European Cancer Organisation on cancer prevention in 2020 was the publication of the landmark study “Strengthening Europe in the Fight Against Cancer: Going further, faster”. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee, received contributions from over 60 experts, including the Co-Chairs of the Prevention Network and many of its participants. It gives a focus on the needs of cancer causation and prevention, and provides a range of recommendations to European decision-makers and national governments on opportunities to improve primary and secondary cancer prevention strategies across Europe. Such recommendations includes means of addressing all known cancer risk factors, supporting further research on both causation and prevention, harnessing the full potential of cancer screening and elevating early diagnosis of cancer. Find out more about the study here.


Early Detection Saves Lives: ​Taking European Cooperation on ​Cancer Screening to the Next Level

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Panel discussion at European Cancer Summit 2020 session “Early Detection Saves Lives: ​Taking European Cooperation on ​Cancer Screening to the Next Level”.

Co-chaired by Jan van Meerbeeck and Isabel Teresa Rubio, the Network presented its early considerations at the European Cancer Summit 2020, taking place on 18 & 19 November with a session entitled “Early Detection Saves Lives: ​Taking European Cooperation on ​Cancer Screening to the Next Level”. The session was a lively discussion on key elements of cancer screening policies, such as the importance of cancer screening to decrease the cancer burden, the necessity of quality assurance schemes, the need for relevant data to monitor the implementation of cancer screening programmes and to foster further innovation, and the ways of ensuring cost-effectiveness of cancer screening.

A resolution was passed by the Summit participants, highlighting some of key early recommendations of the Network:

“It's time to take European cooperation on cancer screening to the next level. The European Cancer community recommends: ​

  • An evidence-led update to the 2003 EU Screening recommendations including dedicated consideration of screening policies for tumour types such as lung & prostate cancer​
  • A European Cancer Dashboard that monitors screening coverage and quality performance​
  • A European Platform for screening agencies to facilitate rapid best practice-sharing​
  • EU research initiatives supporting screening related policy needs, such as new behavioural research insights, impact assessment, the application of risk stratification approaches, and how to examine and assess new screening options.”


  • Find out more on the 2020 European Cancer Summit here.
  • Watch the session recordings and access valuable resources here.
  • Read the report of the Summit here.


To find out more about this Network, or support our work, please contact us here.

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