Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Fighting colonic cancer in the European Union

19th September 2012

Speaking at a meeting in the European Parliament in Brussels, to highlight the fight against colorectal cancer, Dr Charles Tannock MEP was credited with inspiring a campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

At the meeting, Professor Reinhold Stockbrugger, Chairman of the United European Gastroenterology Federation’s Public Affairs Committee, praised Dr Tannock for acting as a catalyst for the campaign, at a meeting he held with Prof. Stockbrugger on November 9. At that meeting, Dr Tannock suggested screening Members of the European Parliament for colorectal cancer in order to raise awareness of the condition.

Through the initiative, MEPs who fall into the target group are to be invited to undergo screening, in the process leading by example to all of the EU citizens that they represent. Prof. Stockbrugger added that, as a result of Dr Tannock’s idea, it is intended that the awareness campaign will be expanded to MPs in national parliaments across Europe.

At the awareness meeting, Dr Tannock said: “It gives me great pleasure to support the fight against colorectal cancer, which is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, and more prevalent in developed countries.

“Screening has the potential to reduce colorectal cancer deaths by 60%. This can take the form of fecal occult blood testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. Although not pleasant, the last two are the most effective and that is what we will be encouraging MEPs to do. Let's see how far we get!”

He said of the strategy to promote screening for colorectal cancer: “Prevention and surveillance by early detection, rather than treatment are the preferred route for health policymakers.”

But Dr Tannock added: “Sadly not all Member States have a comprehensive National Cancer Plan yet setting out their Government’s position on cancer services.”