BRUSSELS, September 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
- Oral Question* tabled by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), calling on the Commission to support European-wide education and awareness campaign to highlight signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer
- 60% of head and neck cancer patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage, of which 60% will die from the disease within 5 years
- Survival rate of head and neck cancer is 80-90% for patients diagnosed in the early stages
Today the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) and the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) reconvened in the European Parliament to call for the implementation of a Europe-wide head and neck cancer early diagnosis awareness programme.
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The meeting, hosted by Ciprian Tănăsescu MEP, is taking place during the second annual
Make Sense Campaign Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, and will be attended by MEPs, representatives of the European Commission and a panel of European head and neck cancer experts. The aim of the event is to harness the support of the European Commission for an early diagnosis strategy in head and neck cancer, devised by the EHNS and ECPC. This objective was outlined in an Oral Question* tabled by MEPs earlier this month, which calls on the Commission to:
- Develop a strategy that encourages earlier diagnosis for head and neck cancers
- Deliver activities that raise awareness of head and neck cancers across Europe
- Secure funding for further scientific research into head and neck cancer
Over 150,000 people across Europe are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year, and approximately 70,000 die from the disease annually. Early diagnosis remains at the core of the EHNS Make Sense Campaign, which was launched in 2012 to raise awareness of head and neck cancer and improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with the disease.
"There is a concerning lack of awareness of head and neck cancer and its signs and symptoms, despite it being the sixth most common type of cancer globally. Consequently, over half of patients are diagnosed in the late stages when the survival rate is just 60%." commented host MEP Ciprian Tănăsescu. "Cancer prevention campaigns must remain a priority within the EU, and support from the Commission will help drive awareness, encourage earlier presentation and diagnosis, and ultimately improve patient outcomes in the future."
The event follows on from a joint EHNS/ECPC White Paper, launched to MEPs during the inaugural Make Sense Campaign Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week in 2013. The White Paper, "Head and Neck Cancer: The 'curable' cancer that kills over half of all sufferers - it is time to do something about it" addressed the urgent need for improved awareness, diagnosis and referral of head and neck cancer patients throughout Europe. There was significant support for the White Paper, with MEPs from across Europe in attendance, thus prompting this follow-up meeting involving representatives from the European Commission, to drive the campaign at the European level.
"If caught at an early stage, patients with head and neck cancer have an 80-90% chance of survival," said Professor René Leemans, President of the EHNS and Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, VU Medical Center, Amsterdam. "To achieve European Commission involvement in the ongoing Make Sense Campaign activities would result in greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease, ensuring that patients across Europe are diagnosed early, receive optimal treatment and consequently have a greater chance of survival."
For more information, visit http://www.makesensecampaign.eu.
*Parliamentary questions are posed by Members of the European Parliament to other European Union Institutions and bodies. Questions for oral answer (Oral Questions) are dealt with during plenary sittings, and included in the day’s debates. They may be followed by a resolution.
Notes to Editors
SOURCE European Head and Neck Society (EHNS)