Cancer screening

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, SAPEA has been asked to review the evidence on the topic.

What is the process for working on this topic?

To ensure we deliver evidence 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:

  1. Workshops. We will hold a series of three workshops with invited experts, convened by Chairs appointed by FEAM. Each workshop will review a different area of the evidence relevant to the questions we have been asked.
  2. Literature review. A literature review will be conducted to inform the experts’ work.
  3. Reports. The outcome of each workshop will be detailed in reports drafted by the workshop chairs, supported by SAPEA staff and a scientific writer. Each report will be delivered to the Advisors within three weeks of the end of the workshop.
  4. Endorsement. The three reports will be summarised in a final document which will be sent to the SAPEA board for endorsement. Board members usually consult with individual academies in their networks before endorsing the report. There is also a plagiarism check.
  5. Design and proofreading. The final versions of the workshop reports will be prepared for publication, including design, layout and proofreading for language errors.
  6. Publication and dissemination. We expect the final reports to be published by the start of 2022, to inform the Advisors’ Scientific Opinion. We will make the reports freely available, following principles of open access and open science, and communicate their contents widely.

For more information about SAPEA's work on this topic, please contact FEAM.

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