FEAM led the development of the new SAPEA report, “Improving Cancer Screening in the European Union“, published on 2 March 2022. Initial scoping and exploratory work for this topic was conducted by FEAM on behalf of SAPEA in 2020 and 2021 and the final scoping paper from the European Commission, which was informed by this work, was published on 4th May 2021.

The European Commission will make a proposal by 2022 to update the Council Recommendation on cancer screening to ensure it reflects the latest available scientific evidence. One of the main objectives was to consider the extension of cancer screening beyond breast, colorectal and cervical cancers to include prostate, lung and gastric cancer, and other cancers if supported by scientific evidence.

In advance of this proposal, the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors developed a Scientific Opinion on this important topic. In order to inform this, they have asked SAPEA to produce a new report based on a series of expert workshops in autumn 2021.

The workshops took place on 21st September, 19th October and 8th November 2021 and each addressed one of the following questions (listed in the scoping paper):

  • What is the scientific basis for extending such screening programmes to other cancers e.g. lung, prostate and gastric cancers, and ensuring their feasibility throughout the EU? (21 September – Summary report)
  • How can cancer screening programmes targeting breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, be improved throughout the EU? (19 October – Summary Report)
  • Which are the main scientific elements to consider, and best practices to promote, for optimising risk-based cancer screening and early diagnosis throughout the EU? (8 November – Summary Report)

Published on 2 March 2022, three rapid review documents were produced answering the following questions:

  • What is the evidence for extending existing screening programmes to lung, prostate, gastric, ovarian and oesophageal cancers? (Document)
  • To what extent do more risk-stratified approaches to screening programmes for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers impact on uptake efficacy, harm-benefit and cost-effectiveness? (Document)
  • What is the evidence from recent trials and reviews for the efficacy, harm-benefit and cost-effectiveness of new technologies in cancer screening and early diagnosis? (Document)

Please send queries about this topic to Rúben Castro (Scientific Policy Officer): ruben.castro@feam.eu

Download the SAPEA report and on Improving Cancer Screening in the European Union:

Download the Scientific Opinion published by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors:

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