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World Cancer Day: a manifesto for cutting the number of deaths

On the occasion of World Cancer Day, the Chair of the Sub-Committee on Public Health of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Liliane Maury Pasquier (Switzerland, SOC) has issued a strong call for a number of practical steps to ensure the adequate prevention, cure and care of cancer.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in Europe, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of deaths. We must do everything in our power to reduce that grim statistic. Prevention can play a huge role – such as reducing smoking and alcohol consumption, improving diets and promoting more active lifestyles to avoid obesity, or tackling over-exposure to the sun. But we must also improve cancer screening, so that cancer is detected earlier and those diagnosed can get the right treatment as swiftly as possible. For those with advanced cancer, good palliative care can dramatically improve quality of life.”

Referring to PACE’s October 2014 Resolution on optimum breast cancer services across Europe, Ms Liliane Maury Pasquier said breast cancer was still the most common cancer among European women and had the highest mortality rate of any cancer in women. The Assembly pointed to great disparities across and between countries in terms of access to quality screening programmes and modern treatment. Ms Maury Pasquier reaffirmed that this situation required decisive action of all member States.