Op-ed in theparliamentmagazine.eu: “European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day: EU needs to recognise severity of threat posed by prostate cancer”

If the EU is sincere about beating cancer, then it needs to extend the scope of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to include prostate cancer and the use of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening tests to boost early detection.

There are more than two million men in the EU currently living with prostate cancer, and every year it claims the lives of 110,000 of them. These men have friends and family and people; we owe it to them to be effective in dealing with prostate cancer and in boosting early detection measures.

I have been working with the Hellenic Urological Association on this matter, and earlier this year I submitted a written question to the European Commission regarding the early detection of prostate cancer.

In it, I urged the EU Executive to extend targeted cancer screening beyond breast, colorectal and cervical cancer and to include prostate cancer in the scope of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

Screening for prostate cancer, by definition, implies the systematic examination of men without symptoms who are, however, at risk of developing the prostatic malignant neoplasm. The purpose of screening is twofold: first, to reduce mortality rates due to prostate cancer and second, to maintain a high quality of life for prostate cancer patients.

Recent technological advances, and the use of PSA screening tests, have led to the prevention of more than 14 percent of prostate cancer related deaths.

It is true that initial mass screening did in fact lead to an overdiagnosis of prostate cancer, which led many men to undergo therapeutic procedures for indolent cancer. Following an anti-PSA-based screening recommendation in 2012 in the US, there has been a mass reduction in its use for early detection across the globe.

However, since the reduction in the use of PSA screening, there has been a decrease in prostate cancer diagnoses. The lack of PSA screening has had unfortunate consequences, as the number of cases diagnosed at an advanced stage has been notably higher.

In the UK alone, prostate cancer deaths have increased by 17 percent in 10 years and have a higher mortality rate than breast cancer. In Germany, prostate cancer is now the second-highest cause of death among men.

Read the op-ed here.