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Home » EU Health, Health, Prostate Cancer

Refining diagnostic and treatment protocols for prostate cancer

Submitted by on 28 Sep 2015 – 09:05

Since most prostate cancers develop slowly and disease progression depends on tumour characteristics, Prof.Hein Van Poppel says refining treatment becomes essential

prof. dr. henrik van poppel 006Prostate cancer (PCa) is the third most commonly occurring cancer in European men. The trend is not only expected to continue due to an ageing population, the rising incidence also means an even greater burden on healthcare systems. Raising public awareness and promoting healthier lifestyles could mitigate the impact on healthcare services. In recent years, a major public concern is diagnostic screening, such as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is perceived to prompt unnecessary interventions or so-called ‘over treatment’ while unduly affecting the patient’s psychological health.

But with the well-established risk factors for PCa such as age, ethnic origin, and genetic predisposition, the need remains urgent for efficient screening and diagnostic tools. Since PCa is mainly an asymptomatic disease and with current screening methods falling short with regards prognostic accuracy, doctors face the dilemma on how to balance timely treatment with the patient’s health condition and wishes.

The recent PCa roundtable organized by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies was therefore a welcome step to address these pressing health concerns and reach consensus among key stakeholders in government, the public sector, scientific research and medical communities of all European countries.

As one of the frontline professional medical organisations, the European Association of Urology (EAU), through its network of more than 14,000 members in all European countries, established a strong collaboration with the national urological societies.

Through the European School of Urology (ESU), CMEAE-credited courses are organised and offered to the urologists in almost all European countries.

For more than four decades, the EAU has actively funded innovative projects on prostate cancer issues.

EAU Guidelines
The EAU continually refines diagnostic and treatment protocols as contained in the EAU Guidelines, offering updated, evidence-based recommendations on all urological diseases, developed in collaboration with other non-urology experts like medical and radiation oncologists. Today, the EAU Guidelines is translated in 19 languages.

Despite the wide diversity in the continent’s healthcare systems, the EAU Guidelines is considered as the key urology resource across Europe and has been formally endorsed by national medical associations within and outside the region such as France, Italy, Australia, Russia, Germany, Spain, Turkey, China and Indonesia.

EAU- Research Foundation
To identify priorities in research, the EAU has created in 2007 the EAU Research Foundation (EAU-RF) as an independent platform tasked to promote, facilitate and stimulate clinical and basic research in European urology. Investigations into prostate cancer are a priority and various trials and registries are ongoing to examine both medical and surgical therapies for prostate diseases.

Patient Information
Since most prostate cancers develop slowly and disease progression depends on tumour characteristics, the patient’s age, co-morbidities and individual treatment preference, decisions can be difficult.

To help patients in the complex decision-making process, the EAU has produced printed and on-line versions of the Patient Information on Prostate Cancer, currently available on the EAU’s website at:

Prof.Hein Van Poppel is the Chairman of the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven. He is Chairman of the Educational Office of the EAU and Director of the European School of Urology.