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New Initiative on Prostate Cancer in Europe

Submitted by on 15 Apr 2014 – 15:28


By Gunnar Schroefel, Bayer PharProstate Cancer Drug Development in Europe: Collaboration for Solutionma AG, Global Advocacy Lead Oncology

Bayer HealthCare is a global company with a strong commitment to developing and delivering new treatments in cancer.  In particular, it is active in the development of new innovative compounds for prostate cancer exemplified by Xofigo (Radium 223 chloride).  Xofigo is a novel alpha-particle emitting nuclide with a unique mode of action, used in the treatment of men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones.  A significant number of men with advanced prostate cancer will face this complication which leads to bone pain, fracture and other complications that are the main cause of disability and significantly increase the risk of early death.  Xofigo has been demonstrated to delay symptoms of bone disease and to improve overall survival.

Prostate cancer is common: currently, there are over 3 million men living with prostate cancer in Europe.  (White A et al. State of Men’s Health in Europe. European Union report. 2011). This figure is expected to rise as the number of new cases is anticipated to reach around 450,000 in 2020, with the greatest increase to date having been seen in men aged 45-64. (Cancer incidence, mortality, prevalence and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) worldwide. Globocan; 2008). The disease kills at least one man every six minutes, resulting in more than 90,000 deaths every year. (Ferlay J et al. Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. Eur J Can. 2013;49:1374–1403).

As part of the company’s commitment to cancer, Bayer works in partnerships with a number of patient organizations to support their efforts on behalf of patients and their caregivers.  One such organization is Europa Uomo, the European Prostate Cancer Coalition which is a pan-European advocacy movement for the fight against prostate cancer. Europa Uomo’s objectives are to increase awareness of prostate cancer in Europe, to promote information about and access to high quality diagnoses and treatment, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. At present, Europa Uomo is represented in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, CzechRepublic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, SlovakRepublic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Recognizing that if outcomes in prostate cancer are to improve the disease needs to be higher up the political agenda, Europa Uomo brought together a working group of experts from various disciplines in the field to review the current situation and to identify priorities for action by policy makers.  The resulting white paper was launched in the European Parliament in July 2012 under the sponsorship of Mrs Nessa Childers, MEP.


Hans Randsdorp, patient advocate and Chairman Europa Uomo

Christian Arnold, patient advocate, ANAMACAP, France

Erik Briers, patient advocate, Europa Uomo

Günter Feick, patient advocate, BPS, Germany

Tom Hudson, patient advocate, Europa Uomo

Ken Mastris, patient advocate, Prostate Cancer Support Federation, UK

Professor Malcolm Mason, CardiffUniversity, Wales, UK

Dr Martin Spahn, University Hospital Bern, Switzerland

Willem de Blok, Netherlands Cancer Institute, The Netherlands

Dr Riccardo Valdagni, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Italy

Dr Juan Antonio Blasco, Unidad de Evaluación de Tecnologías Sanitarias, Madrid, Spain

Professor Sten Nilsson, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr Lara Bellardita, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Italy

Professor Val Lewington, Guy’s & St Thomas’, London, UK

Professor Eilis McCaughan, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK

Dr Caroline Moore, University College London Hospitals Trust, UK

Dr Chris Parker, The Royal Marsden, London, UK

Professor Hendrik Van Poppel, Department of Urology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium

The white paper recommendations were developed during a meeting of the working group and refined by consultation over a period of several months.  The overall goal of the initiative is to ensure that all men with prostate cancer in Europe receive high quality care in order to reduce the death rate and growing burden of prostate cancer on individuals and society.  To achieve this, the working group defined a number of key action points which must be implemented if outcomes in prostate cancer are to be improved.  These recommendations – the ‘Call to Action’ – are evidence-based and outlined below:

  • Risk assessment and PSA testing for prostate cancer should be available ‘free of charge’ if requested by men or their healthcare team
  • Improved education and information about risk factors and symptoms of prostate cancer should be provided to the public and healthcare professionals
  • Prostate cancer care should be co-ordinated and managed by a multi-professional team within a certified centre or network of excellence
  • Care plans should be comprehensive and tailored to the individual patient
  • A personalised care plan for each patient should be decided by the multi-professional team Prostate cancer funding and research should be adequately funded to improve optimal care

Bayer Healthcare is firmly convinced that treatment care for patients can only be improved when the various stakeholder groups are working closely together. Thus, Bayer Healthcare is proud to have supported this initiative and hopes that the European Parliament will take note of the recommendations.  As Mrs Nessa Childers MEP noted: ‘If we are to tackle the growing problem of prostate cancer and improve the lives of our brothers, fathers and sons now and in the future, we must work together’.  Europa Uomo has shown how it can be done.