Conservatives champion colon cancer campaign launch

Brussels, 4th March 2008 — An increase in screening programmes and awareness levels of colon cancer could save hundreds of thousands of lives, Conservative MEP Sir Robert Atkins said today, at the start of Europe’s first colorectal cancer (CRC) awareness month.

Conservatives are hosting a special CRC awareness campaign in the European Parliament this week, in a bid to reduce the number of needless deaths from the second most common cancer in Europe.

The CRC exhibition, which includes a giant, inflatable walk-through colon, will then set off on a Europe-wide tour to raise awareness of the disease.

WHO data shows incidents of colorectal cancer now exceed those of lung cancer in Europe, with more than 400,000 Europeans diagnosed every year. CRC is also the most treatable of all the digestive cancers, yet more than half of those diagnosed with the disease die.

Experts say deaths could be reduced by as much as 50 per cent by 2020 if positive action is taken now.

Sir Robert said:

“I am delighted to be part of this key initiative. Too many people die of this potentially highly treatable disease.

“Screening and awareness levels of colorectal cancer, including lifestyle and risk factors, are far too low, not only in the UK but throughout Europe.

“This Parliament and the European Commission have taken numerous steps to promote awareness and screening programmes for lung, breast and cervical cancers, but not colorectal. Hopefully by kick-starting this campaign, we can get political actors involved in developing a European strategy and help bring down the number of people who needlessly die from this disease.”

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