Health-EU Newsletter

Issue 90, 16 May 2012

In this edition


Prevention is key: European Week Against Cancer – 25-31 May 2012

By Dr Wendy Yared, Director, Association of European Cancer Leagues

Cancer is preventable! This is the important message being communicated by cancer leagues and partner organisations in European countries during the European Week Against Cancer held annually in May.


The event this year is once again coordinated by the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL), like the previous 'Europe Against Cancer' programme. The re-launch of this cancer week is part of our role, leading on health promotion and cancer prevention with the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer (EPAAC) 2011-2014.


During this week, Europeans across the EU and beyond will be reminded that it is possible, as individuals, to lower the risk of cancer by at least 33% (and as high as 50%, according to a new study published in March 2012), if we could address key risk factors such as tobacco use, poor eating habits, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption. We should all be reminded that we have a wonderful but under utilised tool in our fight against cancer – the European Code Against Cancer, which lists the above and other ways to take action to prevent cancer.


In order to actively involve young people, we have launched a Youth Competition and are inviting youths from all across Europe to submit a video or poster to illustrate cancer prevention. With this initiative, we hope to engage them and to learn from them, something we have not been too successful in doing – reaching out to the younger generation. We are also working with leagues across Europe to organise flashmobs. An especially important flashmob will take place in front of the Spanish Steps in Rome (coordinated by the Italian Cancer League), on 26 May, prior to the Official Conference of the European Week Against Cancer opening on 31 May, at the Italian Ministry of Health.


We are pleased to have so many partners on board in our health promotion and cancer prevention work. Prevention is our best investment, offering 'the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer'.

News from the EU

Health effects of security scanners for passenger screening

The Commission has published the opinion of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) on the health effects of security scanners for passenger screening based on X-ray technology.

European Health Insurance Card app for your smartphone

Download your European Health Insurance Card. Access state-provided healthcare if you fall ill or have an accident during your stay abroad.

Parabens used in cosmetics

Experimental studies in animals have shown that these parabens have generally low toxicity and that they do not cause cancers.

Reporting from across Europe


Malta launches obesity strategy

Malta has some of the highest levels of overweight and obesity in the WHO European Region: 72% of men and 53% of women are overweight or obese.


Child vaccination programme

Danish health ministry launches childhood vaccination programme to get high vaccination coverage of measles, a highly contagious disease.

Forthcoming Events

6th European Conference on Rare Diseases and Orphan Products (ECRD) (Brussels, 23-25 May 2012)

The conference is a unique platform on rare diseases, bringing together all stakeholders academics, healthcare professionals, industry, policymakers and patients’ representatives.

Conference for the European Week Against Cancer (Rome, 31 May-1 June 2012)

The conference hosted by the Italian Cancer League will focus on tobacco control, early screening and healthier lifestyles.

EuroHealthNet Equity Week (Brussels, 29-31 May 2012)

EuroHealthNet hosts a week of activities to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities for future action to improve health equity.

New Publications

EU Health Programme: working together to improve public health in Europe

Published by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC), this booklet presents a selection of public health projects with an important impact for EU Member States.

How can science support policy makers in addressing the nutritional challenges of Europe?

This report from the EU Joint Research Centre summarises nutritional issues of EU-Enlargement and Integration Action countries and EU Member States.

Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study

A new WHO international report, with results from a 2009/2010 survey, reveals that teenagers do not get a fair deal on health.

EU Health Programme: 2010 call for proposals

This publication from EAHC includes abstracts of public health projects funded under call for proposals 2010.

What's New on Health-EU

Commissioner Dalli launches the 4th edition of the EU Health Prize for Journalists

Journalists writing on health are invited to submit their articles via the website. Submission deadline is 31 July 2012.


Prevention is key: European Week Against Cancer – 25-31 May 2012

Activities at EU level

Public Health – Cancer

European Commission – DG Health and Consumers

Health-EU – Cancer

European Commission – DG Health and Consumers


Join a European flashmob against cancer

In the spirit of the European Week Against Cancer, the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer organises flashmob events on 26 May 2012 in Rome, Paris, Barcelona and Ankara. On 23 May, a flashmob will be held at 5pm in Brussels.

Scientists find link between biological processes and young breast cancer patients

Breast cancer in young women is linked to age-related biological processes, a new study shows.

'Communicating the Code' Youth Competition

This competition encourages students to learn how cancer can be prevented, by creating posters and videos that communicate effectively on what it is possible to do now to prevent cancer later in life.

Watch the new 'Ex-smokers' videos and become unstoppable

A new series of promotional videos for the 'Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable'.

EU Health Prize for journalists – Articles

'Living with loss', by Georgiana Ilie – National nominee for Romania 2011

Where do you find support and comfort when you lose someone to a terminal disease?

'The myths surrounding cancer-fighting food', by Luís Silvestre – National nominee for Portugal 2011

It seems that fish might not be as healthy as we thought after all, and that red meat apparently does not cause cancer. But fruit, on the other hand, can be really dangerous.

Health Programme Projects


Aurora project aims to promote the exchange of good practices on promotion of cervical cancer screening in new EU Member States, in particular regarding hard-to-reach populations.

European Cooperation on Development and Implementation of Cancer Screening and Prevention Guidelines (ECCG)

The project aims to develop supplements to the current EU guidelines for quality assurance in breast and cervical cancer screening in order to take into account new developments since the most recent publication of the guidelines.

CRC Screening (CRCS)

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most common newly-diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Europe in the 27 Member States, with approximately 330,000 new cases and 149,000 deaths estimated in 2008.

Other interesting links

The European Partnership for Action Against Cancer (EPAAC)

European Code Against Cancer

Rare Cancers Europe (RCE)

World Heath Organisation – Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Health-EU. The Public Health Portal of the European Union
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