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Liz Lynne launches cross-party call for breast cancer screening for all women in the EU

December 15, 2009 5:51 PM

Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne has launched a cross party campaign in the European Parliament calling for breast cancer screening for every woman in the EU between the ages of 50 and 70.

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 was co-chair of MEPs Against Cancer in the last parliament and is leading the campaign to ensure it is set up again. Liz has worked closely with the European Breast Cancer Coalition of cancer charities in drawing up the proposals in the Declaration, launched today at the European Parliament in Strasbourg .

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: "Breast cancer is still the leading cause of death of women between 35 and 59, and across European Union nations 331,392 women were diagnosed in the most recent yearly figures.

"We need to ensure that every member state including Britain is taking the most effective steps to fight this terrible disease and we hope as many MEPs as possible will sign this Declaration - we need 369 signatures to force a debate."

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 adequately fund a certification protocol to accredit specialist units to agreed standards by 2011.

Liz Lynne added: "At present there is 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. The Commission can play a key role in enabling this to happen."

"Breast screening should be carried out at the most effective time, so we also want the EU Commission to ensure current guidelines are being implemented as well as supporting more research into the effectiveness of screening women under 50 years old or over 69.

"They should also present up-to-date, reliable statistics on breast cancer and support the development of national cancer registers in every EU country."

Liz is a strong supporter of the European Breast Cancer Coalition, an alliance of health care charities also known as Europa Donna. She backed their recent campaign to encourage women to increase their activity levels, after scientists proved that just 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day could stop between 10 and 16% of all cases.

Notes:

About breast cancer: 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.

About Europa Donna: Europa Donna - The European Breast Cancer Coalition aims to improve awareness of breast health and healthy lifestyle factors that can help women live long, healthy lives. 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.