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Inclusion of lung cancer to the EU Recommendation on cancer screening

ELF and ERS support the European Commission’s proposal to add lung cancer in the updated Council Recommendation on cancer screening

On 20 September, Health Commissioner Kyriakides presented a new approach on cancer screening. It is a long-awaited proposal for an update of the existing EU Council recommendation on cancer screening.

This new extended EU approach aims to include lung, prostate and gastric cancer in national screening programmes. According to the proposal, lung cancer screening should be provided to ex-smokers and current heavy smokers aged between 50 and 75.

Following the announcement, the European respiratory Society (ERS) and ELF issued a statement “A new EU approach on cancer screening: a big step forward”. The organisations recognise this big step forward towards early detection of cancers, especially in the fight against lung cancer. Screening saves lives; it is key to improving prognosis and reducing the burden and costs of cancer.

However, there are some concerns about “step wise approach” that could delay the implementation of screening programmes. Our statement suggests avoiding any further watering down of the text to ensure proposal’s effectiveness.

ELF Chair Kjeld Hansen welcomed the launch of the proposal and urged EU member states to introduce screening:

‘’Lung cancer screening could be a game changer for people all around Europe. Governments should follow the most ambitious approach possible to this draft Council recommendation – following the positive examples of Croatia and Poland or Australia and the US where lung cancer screening has already been rolled out nationally.’’

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