We are currently working on this topic, answering the following questions:
- How can cancer screening programmes targeting breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, be improved throughout the EU?
- What is the scientific basis for extending such screening programmes to other cancers e.g. lung, prostate and gastric cancers, and ensuring their feasibility
throughout the EU?
- Which are the main scientific elements to consider, and best practices to promote, for optimising risk-based cancer screening and early diagnosis throughout the EU?
Why are we working on this topic?
The European Commission will make a proposal by 2022 to update the Council Recommendation on cancer screening to ensure it reflects the latest available scientific evidence. One of the objectives will be to consider the extension of cancer screening beyond breast, colorectal and cervical cancer to include prostate, lung and gastric cancer, and other cancers if supported by scientific evidence.
In advance of this proposal, the European Commission's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors will develop a Scientific Opinion on this topic. To inform this Opinion, they have asked SAPEA to produce an Evidence Review Report.
What is the process for working on this topic?
Our Evidence Review Report responds to the scientific question asked of us in the scoping paper we receive from the Advisors when we take on the topic. To ensure we deliver a report of the highest standard in a transparent way, our work is guided by a set of principles and procedures which can be found in our Quality Assurance Guidelines.
Initial scoping and exploratory work for this topic was conducted by FEAM on behalf of SAPEA in 2020 and 2021. The final scoping paper from the European Commission was informed by this work and was published on 4 May 2021. Starting with the publication of this scoping paper, we will follow the steps below:
- Working group. We assemble an interdisciplinary working group of Europe’s top independent experts. For full details of how this process works, see How we find our experts.
- Systematic literature reviews. The working group’s work will be informed by systematic literature reviews, to identify relevant published scientific evidence, identify knowledge gaps and uncertainties and to reduce the risk of bias in the working group.
- Working group meetings. The working group will meet regularly to prepare and discuss the content of the Evidence Review Report. The experts will draft the report over the course of several months, supported by SAPEA staff.
- Collaboration with Advisors. The Advisors will meet us regularly and participate as observers in working group meetings, while respecting the independence of SAPEA in drafting the Evidence Review Report.
- Expert workshop. We will organise a workshop to provide an initial critique on the first complete draft of the report. Workshop participants will be experts in the topic, ideally with applied knowledge in the field. The working group will consider all of the feedback from the participants when finalising the report.
- Peer review. The report will be reviewed by at least three peer reviewers in a blind review process. The peer reviewers are approved by the SAPEA board and the working group is required to address any comments they receive.
- Endorsement. The report will be sent to the SAPEA board for endorsement. Board members also receive a quality assurance checklist, a copy of all comments from peer reviewers, and an explanation of how the working group addressed the comments. Board members usually consult with individual academies in their networks before endorsing the report. There is also a plagiarism check.
- Design and proofreading. The final version of the report will be prepared for publication, including design, layout and proofreading for language errors.
- Publication and dissemination. We expect the final report to be published in spring 2022, alongside the Advisors’ Scientific Opinion. We will make the report freely available, following principles of open access and open science, and communicate its contents widely.
For more information about SAPEA's work on this topic, please contact FEAM.