EU: Plans for New Cancer Prevention Roadmap
The EU has unveiled a new cancer prevention roadmap.
Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides has announced that the Commission will kick-off the discussion on the ‘Europe’s beating cancer plan’ on February 4, 2020 – on the occasion of World Cancer Day, while the communication and action plan itself is expected towards the end of 2020.
The Commissioner wants the preparatory debate to be as inclusive as possible, inviting all stakeholders and patients involved in the process to make a contribution to the new plan.
She also listed some principles which will lead the European Commission’s endeavour in fighting cancer. These were:
- A horizontal approach to cancer, which is in line with the ‘Health in All policies’ principle;
- Addressing risk-factors like tobacco and alcohol consumption as well as vaccination, physical exercise and healthy lifestyle in general;
- Fair and equal access to treatment, reducing inequalities among member states when it comes to screening, early diagnosis and innovative medicines.
In the EU, a new case of cancer is diagnosed every nine seconds, while 40% of Europeans will face a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives. Cancer diagnosis can have a major social as well as financial impact on health systems and families of patients.
About 40% of cancer cases today are preventable, and that makes me feel very frustrated,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, as per Euractive.
But it makes me feel more determined as well because I think that if we really put our efforts in this area, we can change numbers and statistics around cancer.”
Alcohol is major cause of cancer
Science knows about the correlation of cancer and alcohol use since the 1980s. The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC), the WHO’s research body, classifies alcohol as class one carcinogen since 1988.
But similar awareness among decision-makers and broader public has not caught up to state of the art understanding of alcohol as a cause of 7 types of cancer.
Today a body of evidence exists and keeps growing, showing how strong the correlation between alcohol use and cancer risk is. The IARC estimates that alcohol lies behind 8% of all cases of cancer. After tobacco (18%), alcohol is thus the second biggest cause of cancer. According to some studies, 10% of total cancer cases in men and 3% total cancer cases in women could be attributable to alcohol use.
7 Types Of Cancer
Alcohol causes 7 types of cancers:
- food pipe,
- voice box,
- breast (women),
- bowel and
- liver cancer.
Cancer kills ca. 8 million people worldwide every year.
Alcohol-related cancer In Europe
- A European Union study showed that on average only 36% of people know about alcohol’s role in cancer.
- The AMPHORA project, a research project financed by the European Commission, calculates that 136.000 new cases of cancer in EU, yearly, are caused by alcohol use.
- In the United Kingdom alone, alcohol causes 4% of cancers, around 12,800 cases, yearly.
The European Code Against Cancer was developed with EU funds by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The Cancer Code comprises 12 recommendations_
- Do not smoke. Do not use any form of tobacco.
- Make your home smoke free. Support smoke-free policies in your workplace.
- Take action to be a healthy body weight.
- Be physically active in everyday life. Limit the time you spend sitting.
- Have a healthy diet:
- Eat plenty of whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits.
- Limit high-calorie foods (foods high in sugar or fat) and avoid sugary drinks.
- Avoid processed meat; limit red meat and foods high in salt.
- If you consume alcohol of any type, limit your intake. Not using alcohol is better for cancer prevention.
- Avoid too much sun, especially for children. Use sun protection. Do not use sunbeds.
- In the workplace, protect yourself against cancer-causing substances by following health and safety instructions.
- Find out if you are exposed to radiation from naturally high radon levels in your home. Take action to reduce high radon levels.
- For women:
- Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s cancer risk. If you can, breastfeed your baby.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of certain cancers. Limit use of HRT.
- Ensure your children take part in vaccination programmes for:
- Hepatitis B (for newborns),
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) (for girls).
- Take part in organized cancer screening programmes for:
- Bowel cancer (men and women),
- Breast cancer (women), and
- Cervical cancer (women).