May is bladder cancer awareness month, a cancer that is the fifth most common cancer in the Western world and the second most frequent malignancy of the urinary tract after prostate cancer. With more than 175,000 people being diagnosed with bladder cancer in Europe each year, more needs to be done to reduce the burden of bladder cancer on patients.

We tend to forget that bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Europe, yet resource provision including funding for research and reimbursement of new medicines does not reflect the high disease burden or societal cost”, says Francesco de Lorenzo, President of ECPC.

Statistics show that up to half of all people diagnosed with bladder cancer in Europe, will die within five years. Nowadays, the advent of new promising drugs like immunotherapeutic compounds is likely to revitalize the field, and new drugs are expected to become available at new standards. For this reason, the access to new drugs for patients with bladder cancer will be a major concern for European regulators in the next few months.”, states Andrea Necchi, member of ECPC Expert Group on bladder cancer.

ECPC White Paper on Bladder Cancer

ECPC launched in April this year a White Paper on Bladder Cancer to raise awareness about this condition among policy-makers, the scientific and medical community to reduce the burden of bladder cancer on patients. “This paper provides a high level overview of the state of play of bladder cancer in Europe, principles for prevention, treatment guidelines available and research gaps. The paper will be translated in five languages and will be used at country level to inform policy-makers and the medical community about current shortcomings and the research needs”, highlights Prof. Dr. Morgan Roupret.

The paper draws on suggestions made by an international expert group made of bladder cancer experts from different medical disciplines including urologists, oncologists as well as patient organisations such as Action Bladder Cancer UK, Fight Bladder Cancer UK, Associazione PaLiNUro, Italy.

Whereas, many actions need to be implemented at national level, the European Commission should recognise the burden imposed by bladder cancer by promoting the use of guidelines. EAU’s bladder cancer guidelines and its broader use at country level can help to improve clinical outcomes”, underlines Hein van Poppel EAU Adjunct Secretary General.

Safer working conditions

Cancer is the leading cause of working conditions-induced mortality in Europe. The revision of the Carcinogens Directive proposed by the European Commission last 13 May is also an opportunity to further reduce occupational exposure to chemical carcinogens or mutagens. It lays down obligations to minimise and control the use of workplace carcinogens and provides for occupational exposure limit values to be set. While some steps have been taken to address the preventable risk factors associated with bladder cancer, there is still much more that can be done at a European level.

We welcome this initiative and we will engage with the European Parliament to ensure safer working conditions and improved monitoring & reporting practices for workers interacting with potentially carcinogenic substances. For ECPC it is of outmost importance that health surveillance for the workers is also done after the period of exposure and after employment. Thus, cancers can be detected at an early stage and many lives would be saved. Another point of advocacy for ECPC will be to extend the scope of application of the Directive to substances toxic for the reproduction.”, concluded Mihaela Militaru, Director of ECPC.

Events across Europe for celebrating BLADDER AWARENESS MONTH

Turkey

The Turkish Cancer Survivors Association prepared a series of awareness materials presenting the risk factors of bladder cancer as well as the first signs of this type of cancer. They have also translated in Turkish ECPC White Paper on bladder cancer that will be launched in a press conference on the 26th of May.

UK

SAVE THE DAY - Bubbles for Bladder Cancer Day organised by our friends from the UK on Sunday 29th May 2016 - http://fightbladdercancer.co.uk/about-us/bubbles-bladder-cancer