UEG press release

MEPs call for more early screening in fight to prevent cancers

May 24, 2016

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MEPs call for more early screening in fight to prevent cancers

(Brussels, May 26, 2016) Members of the European Parliament, together with European health organisations, are calling for more early screening to prevent digestive cancers that kill more than 500,000 people in Europe every year.

The MEPs against Cancer (MAC), led by MEP Pavel Poc (Czech Republic, S&D), made the call during a policy discussion “Prevention, Promotion and Screening: European Code against Cancer” held today in the European Parliament. The event was organised to draw attention to the 4th European Code against Cancer and the importance of early detection.

MEP Poc said that the recommendations of the Code are very simple, yet scientifically proven actions, which can be taken to help prevent cancer. “I encourage everyone to get familiar with the Code and share the recommendations with friends and family. Especially in current times, with the EU facing many crises that cast shadows over the health agenda, we should make our best efforts to avoid yet another one - this time in public health”. MEP Poc said that in the EU, more than one and a quarter million people die from cancer every year, which is just over one quarter of the total number of deaths.

It was pointed out that almost half of all deaths due to cancer in Europe could be avoided if everyone followed the recommendations in the European Code against Cancer. The latest edition of the code recommends 12 actions that can be taken.

The event was organised in the framework of the European Week against Cancer (May 25 to May 31) by United European Gastroenterology (UEG), the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) and MEPs against Cancer (MAC).

The policy discussion focused particularly on digestive cancers.

Thierry Ponchon, Chair UEG Public Affairs Committee, explained that the current rates for CRC screening programmes vary from as little as 17% in areas of Poland and just 22% in Belgium, to a healthier rate of 64% in Norway and 70% in Finland. “As health professionals we are committed to all efforts that would help to make uptake of cancer screening programmes higher,” he said.

Health professionals play an essential role in the prevention and early detection of major chronic diseases. The actions to prevent specific chronic diseases also apply to the prevention of other major chronic illnesses. Health professionals are integral to making this connection work in practice.

Dr Sakari Karjalainen, ECL President said: “as part of our long-term strategy, ECL strongly supports equitable access to quality controlled cancer screening programmes in accordance with EU guidelines and the best available international evidence, as outlined in the recommendations of the European Code Against Cancer.”

He welcomed the collaborative initiatives “ECL is delighted to partner with important health professional associations such as UEG with whom we have collaborated previously for the European Colorectal Cancer Days,” he added. “Health professionals are absolutely essential actors for improving public health via the promotion of all of the messages of the European Code against Cancer.”

Access Colorectal Cancer Screening Across Europe leaflet


Notes to Editors

About UEG

UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu

To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:

  • UEG Digestive Health Month, in May, is in an initiative being held to raise awareness about digestive health in Europe and to highlight how additional funding can help to advance the understanding of related diseases. In the framework of the initiative, UEG is hosting two events in the European Parliament and also features on social media with the hashtag #DigestiveHealthMonth.
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe

About Professor Thierry Ponchon

Professor Thierry Ponchon is from the Herriot University Hospital in Lyon, France. He is a UEG endoscopy specialist and a member of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee.

To interview Professor Ponchon, or for further information, please contact Luke Paskins at UEG on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

About Association of European Cancer Leagues

The role of ECL is to facilitate the collaboration between cancer leagues throughout Europe and to influence EU and pan-European policies.  The mission of the Association of European Cancer Leagues is to influence and improve cancer control and cancer care in Europe through collaboration between its members in their fight against cancer, and to influence EU and pan-European policies.

About MEPs against Cancer

MAC is a group of MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) dedicated to supporting cancer prevention and control at the EU level and beyond. MAC is led by MEP Alojz Peterle.

About MEP Pavel Poc

Pavel Poc is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Czech Republic and is a member of S&D Group (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament). MEP Poc is a Vice Chair of the ENVI Committee and Vice Chair of initiative MEPs against Cancer.

Contact Details:

UEG Brussels Office

+32 2 536 86 68


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