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#WeWontRest until we get 1 million signatures to save 130,000 #BeautifulLives a year

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and we are happy to participate in the effort to make it a success. In Europe, colorectal cancer remains a major killer, with 550,000 newly diagnosed patients every year of whom 260,000 die. The impact on patients and families is enormous. And even if many patients survive and have a good quality of life, there are also many whose quality of life is negatively impacted, and whose social and professional lives are disrupted under the shadow of their disease.
 
Digestive Cancers Europe, the umbrella organisation of national patient associations representing patients with cancer of the digestive tract, launched #BeautifulLives, a European campaign calling on citizens to sign a petition for the right and opportunity to be screened for colon cancer. Because early detection saves lives.

The outlook for many patients has been transformed by advances in cancer care. There are around 50 new molecules in development for the treatment of colorectal cancer[1], and many more new drugs that act on solid tumours including colorectal cancers. Whereas before the year 2000, two drugs were available against colorectal cancer, today there are more than eleven[2]. Like in other cancers, major progress has been achieved. With scientific knowledge expanding, more targeted and more efficacious drugs are being developed. The majority of those drugs are adjuvant treatments, to be used after surgery in patients with Stage III and IV cancer.
 
All this being said, it is always better to prevent citizens from getting cancer than having to treat them. Colorectal cancer is avoidable, in up to 50% of cases. Early detection of the disease leads to much higher chances of survival and much cheaper treatment: easier surgery, less complications, shorter hospital stays, less personal disruption. Early detection benefits not only the patient, but society as a whole.
 
National population-based screening programmes have demonstrated success if conducted properly and with high citizen participation rates. Both the Netherlands and Slovenia have seen a reduction in the number of cases thanks to their programmes. The Basque Region in Spain demonstrated how screening has contributed to cost-saving for their healthcare system. Digestive Cancers Europe calculated that if every country applied the best screening practices, 130,000 lives would be saved every year along with 3 billion euro[3].
 
This is why we support the #BeautifulLives campaign promoted by Digestive Cancers Europe. Please join us and sign the petition to ensure that citizens across Europe have access to the right colorectal cancer screening programmes.
 
We need 1 million signatures. And #WeWontRest until we get there. Join us and citizens from across Europe by following the link to sign the petition.
 
[1] PhRMA, Drugs In Development, 2018
[2] FDA, 2018
[3] Digestive Cancers Europe: “White Paper on Colorectal Cancer Screening”, 2019

Nathalie Moll

Nathalie Moll joined the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) as Director...
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