Though Europe has made good progress in reducing cancer deaths in recent years, significant differences remain between countries, and many thousands of cancer deaths could be avoided each year if best practice in early detection was applied equally in all Member States.
With the 2003 Council Recommendation on Cancer Screening, the EU calls on EU Member States to implement effective screening programmes for breast cancer, colon cancer and cervical cancer. It outlines best practice guidelines in early detection of these cancers. Although not legally binding, this text puts cancer on the EU's political agenda, and shall guide Member States in their national effort to combat cancer.
The EU screening guidelines for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer are as follow:
Other cancer detection tests could be added to the recommendation at a later stage if there is good scientific evidence of their value in systematic cancer screening.
The full text of the Recommendation is available below.