This week is European Week Against Cancer (25-31 May). As the week falls on a political hiatus during an election year, The Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) are calling on NGOs and citizens to take the opportunity to strongly engage with their new Members of Parliament (MPs) in their countries and with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) at the EU, to ensure that cancer prevention and early detection is on their agenda.
Cancer is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in the European Region and there are more than 3 million new cases annually. At 1.7 million deaths per year, cancer is the second most common cause of death and morbidity in Europe after cardiovascular diseases.(i) Morbidity and mortality rates are expected to increase, with Europe’s rapidly ageing population.
Political action is needed to curb these alarming statistics. Cancer is a highly preventable disease, and research has provided evidence that at least a third of all cancers are preventable. With early detection, common cancers such as breast, colorectal and cervical cancer can be treated.
All MEPs in the new legislature will be invited to support the MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) Election Manifesto with the goal to “reduce cancer incidence by promoting prevention, ensuring equitable access to high quality treatment and care, and ensuring a good quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.”
The key areas of work in this Manifesto are Equality, Prevention, Research, Registration, Protection, Patients, Quality and Rare Cancers.(ii)
Politicians should also be aware of the EU’s European Code Against Cancer, a set of evidence‐based recommendations including not using tobacco, having a healthy weight, undertaking physical activity, having a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, moderating alcohol intake and participating in cervical, breast, and colorectal screening as well as in vaccination programmes.
“This is an ideal time to invite new and returning politicians to support the efforts of cancer leagues and other NGOs in our cancer control efforts, at both the national and European level.” ‐ Joan Kelly, ECL President
(i) World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cancer