In November 2003, EMHF participated in a parliamentary debate about a proposal from the Commission to develop cancer screening programmes in Member States. As a result, amendments 13 and 33 (see below) were voted, stressing the need to improve and monitor men’s take-up of cancer screens. It complemented other recommendations already introduced concerning colorectal, cervical and breast cancers.
Amendment 13: Recital 18a (new)
Screening policy must be conscious of men and women's different health challenges and needs; as screening for colorectal cancer is the first cancer screen available to men, information on men's take-up and outcomes is therefore especially important to monitor; in addition, given that prostate cancer is becoming more common than lung cancer among men, it is important to continue to raise awareness of symptoms and to keep under continuous review any research and technological developments in the field of prostate cancer screening.
Amendment 33: Annex Ia (new)
Promising new screening tests, currently being evaluated in randomised controlled trials, could potentially reduce mortality from cancer. The state of the art should be assessed and continuously updated by European experts in order to propose evidence-based applications, adapt guidelines and inform citizens, health authorities and stake holders on the advantages, risks and costs. Such tests shall include:
- mammography screening for women aged 40-49 for breast cancer,
- improved Faecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT) for colorectal cancer,
- flexible recto-sigmoïdoscopy or colonoscopy for colorectal cancer,
- testing for high risk human papilloma virus (HPV) infection for cervical cancer,
- improved methods for the preparation (liquid based cytology) or interpretation of cervical specimens,
- prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer.
Once the efficacy of screening methods has been demonstrated, the evaluation of the effectiveness of modified tests or alternative applications may be based on other epidemiologically validated surrogate endpoints if their predictive value is established.