Established in 2020, the ECL Prevention and Early Detection Working Group (P&EDWG) connects cancer control experts from cancer leagues across Europe who work together on various primary and secondary prevention issues, with a focus on tobacco control, early detection and obesity.

The working group will contribute towards achieving ECL’s mission statement: “to advocate for improved cancer control and care in Europe through facilitating collaboration between cancer leagues and influencing EU and pan-European policies.”

The general objectives that guide the work of the group are to:

  • Foster the regular exchange of knowledge and experience amongst member leagues via routine virtual and physical meetings, online tools for collaboration, and other relevant means as identified by member leagues;  
  • Assist member leagues with the implementation of policies in their countries, in order to reach actual successes, sharing data for benchmarking;
  • Proactively engage with policy development at the European level, concerning prevention and early detection respectively, by defining ECL’s specific response to policy and legislative proposals, and formulating recommendations for public health advocacy at the European level.
Introductory Note from the P&EDWG Chair

Prevention has been the top cancer control objective since the mid 20th century, but the promise of prevention remains a largely unfilled, urgent public health priority.

ECL has been insisting on the fact that prevention is the most cost-effective long-term strategy for cancer control. ECL has also been focusing on cancer prevention for several years now through diverse strategies, the most important being the endorsement and dissemination of the European Code Against Cancer.

Now, at the beginning of the 21st year of the 21st century, ECL has launched a Prevention and Early Detection Working Group which has the task to assess and analyse cancer prevention issues and strategies in order to proactively engage with policy development at the national and European level.

Although well-informed individual choices are important, many factors, such as the availability of different food, the accessibility of early diagnosis methods and the pricing of tobacco products, are outside of people’s control.

In order to achieve healthy lifestyles over the life course and effect change at the population level, it is crucial that policy makers and governments prioritise cancer prevention and work with civil society, the private sector and all stakeholders to ensure that our environment is conducive to positive behavioural change.

Between 30% and 50% of cancer deaths can be prevented by combining screening and prevention strategies. That’s why the P&EDWG intends to work on obesity, tobacco control and early detection issues. In this pandemic times, the challenge is even greater as we are unable to meet in person, but I’m sure that the commitment and engagement of our members will lead us to successfully achieving our goals.

Made up of cancer prevention experts from cancer leagues across Europe, the P&EDWG will foster collaboration and information sharing, generating some answers and improving current strategies that may even be leveraged by the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan as it will promote actions at every key stage of the disease.

At the very beginning of our journey, we are hopeful that our work will contribute to reduce the cancer burden by stepping up our prevention and health promotion efforts,  proposing new prevention strategies and advocating for better early detection strategies.

This is not a task for a single person or cancer league; fighting cancer is everyone’s responsibility and each of us has a role.

Let’s get to work!

Cristiana Fonseca

Chair, ECL Prevention & Early Detection Working Group