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Liz Lynne and breast cancer campaigners step up drive for screening

February 25, 2010 11:05 AM
By Charles West

Campaigners from the European Breast Cancer coalition joined Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne in Brussels this week to lobby Euro MPs to sign up to a call for universal cancer screening for women between the ages of 50 and 69.

Supported by three other MEPs from different parties, Liz Lynne has put down a Written Declaration calling for the plan as part of a sustained Europe-wide campaign to beat the disease, which kills nearly 90,000 women in Europe every year.

Liz Lynne MEP is co-chair of MEPs Against Cancer and has worked closely with the European Breast Cancer Coalition of cancer charities, also known as Europa Donna, in drawing up the proposals.

The Declaration calls for every EU member state to introduce nationwide breast screening, and for the Commission to draw up a progress report every two years.

Liz Lynne said: "An encouraging number of Euro MPs from all parties have already signed this declaration, but we need to persuade many more to get it adopted and trigger a debate on the issue in Parliament. The threshold for that is 369 and the deadline is 25th March.

"Breast cancer is still the leading cause of death of women between 35 and 59, and across European Union nations over 331,00 women were diagnosed in the most recent yearly figures."

The Declaration also calls on EU Member States including Britain to provide multidisciplinary specialist breast care units following EU guidelines by 2016. To bring this about, the MEPs want the Commission to develop and fund a certification scheme to accredit specialist units to agreed standards by 2011.

Liz Lynne added: "At present there are very large differences in cancer care around Europe and best practice is not being applied everywhere. The best is very good indeed, but if we are to beat this disease, every woman in the EU deserves to have a health care system following best practice."

"We also want the EU Commission to ensure current guidelines are being implemented and more research into the effectiveness of screening women under 50 years old or over 69.

"National cancer registers in every EU country would also be a great step forward."

Notes:

Liz is a strong supporter of the European Breast Cancer Coalition, an alliance of health care charities also known as Europa Donna. Europa Donna is a non-profit organisation representing the interests of European women regarding breast cancer to local and national authorities and to institutions of the European Union. Europa Donna has affiliated member groups in 44 European countries.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and in Europe, with estimated 430,000 new cases in European women every year. In Europe, breast cancer still claims the lives of more women than any other cancer. According to WHO, at least one third of all cancer cases are preventable. Excess body weight and physical inactivity are known risk factors that account for 25-33 percent of breast cancer cases.