MEP backs campaign to improve Cancer care

27 November 2005
Members of the European Parliament, including Scottish MEP Alyn Smith are stepping up their campaign to improve the standard of cancer care across Europe.

Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith has joined the Forum for MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) to promote a European Code Against Cancer and encourage countries to meet European standards on screening and treatment.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of MAC next week (30th November) Mr Smith said

"I have joined MEPs against Cancer because I believe it is essential that we improve the standard of cancer care both in Scotland and across the EU. The European code against cancer sets out basic steps to help prevent and detect cancer that we should all follow. I would encourage anyone who is concerned about cancer to look at the code and to follow its recommendations."

"A lot of the suggestions in the code are things individuals can do on their own without needing to go to hospitals or see a doctor, things like exercise, healthy diet and protecting themselves from the sun - even in Scotland."

"MEPs against Cancer also wants to see countries across the EU sharing their experiences of cancer and learning from each other to improve detection and treatment for everyone."

"Different countries have had difference experiences of cancer and all have good and bad experiences to share. Scotland, with one of the highest rates of cancer sufferers may have more to learn than most. We certainly, with some of the excellent specialist doctors, nurses and researchers at places like the Beatson Centre in Glasgow have much to offer."

MAC works alongside the European Cancer Patient Coalition chaired by former Watchdog presenter and Cancer campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood who invited Mr Smith to join the MEPs group

"MEPs Against Cancer is a very timely initiative and we believe it will ultimately help to save many lives and improve the quality of life for cancer patients across Europe. As a Scot who almost lost her life to one of the commonest cancers - bowel cancer - I am especially delighted that Alyn Smith has joined MAC - MEPs Against Cancer."

European Code Against Cancer (http://www.cancercode.org)

Many aspects of general health can be improved, and certain cancers avoided, if you adopt a healthier lifestyle

Do not smoke; if you smoke, stop doing so. If you fail to stop, do not smoke in the presence of non-smokers

Avoid Obesity

Undertake some brisk, physical activity every day

Increase your daily intake and variety of vegetables and fruits: eat at least five servings daily. Limit your intake of foods containing fats from animal sources

If you drink alcohol, whether beer, wine or spirits, moderate your consumption to two drinks per day if you are a man and one drink per day if you are a woman

Care must be taken to avoid excessive sun exposure. It is specifically important to protect children and adolescents. For individuals who have a tendency to burn in the sun active protective measures must be taken throughout life

Apply strictly regulations aimed at preventing any exposure to known cancercausing substances. Follow all health and safety instructions on substances which may cause cancer. Follow advice of national radiation protection offices

There are public health programmes that could prevent cancers developing or increase the probability that a cancer may be cured

Women from 25 years of age should participate in cervical screening.This should be within programmes with quality control procedures in compliance with European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Cervical Screening

Women from 50 years of age should participate in breast screening. This should be within programmes with quality control procedures in compliance with European Union Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Mammography Screening

Men and women from 50 years of age should participate in colorectal screening. This should be within programmes with built-in quality assurance procedures

Participate in vaccination programmes against Hepatitis B Virus infection