European White Paper on Bladder Cancer


Shaping the Future of Bladder Cancer Care

Hosted by MEP Isátv Ujhelyi, a momentous policy roundtable was convened on 25 September 2023, where the white paper’s recommendations were unveiled. The discussion was centred around identifying legislative opportunities and the critical need to provide enhanced support for both bladder cancer patients and their dedicated caregivers. Notably, Chair of the EAU Policy Office, Prof. Hein Van Poppel, and Mrs. Sarah Collen were among the prominent attendees at this pivotal event.

Despite the fact that bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Europe, around 60% of adults are either unfamiliar with it or are unaware of its implications. This statistic comes from the World Bladder Cancer Patient Coalition, and is very alarming, proving that much work still needs to be done in raising awareness of this devastating disease. Better awareness in the general public means earlier diagnosis, treatment and ultimately better chances of survival and of living a normal life.

Although bladder cancer carries one of the highest lifetime costs of any cancer, it is severely underfunded and researched.

A New Chapter in Bladder Cancer Advocacy

The primary objective of the comprehensive white paper is to leverage policy advocacy and bring about a positive transformation in bladder cancer awareness, education, and patient care across Europe. In this article, we delve deep into the key highlights of this groundbreaking initiative.

The Unsettling Disparities

Despite being the fifth most common cancer in Europe, bladder cancer has historically received disproportionately low research funding. Astonishingly, its lifetime costs surpass those of many other cancers. This funding disparity has led to a lack of awareness and understanding, particularly concerning gender-specific symptoms, resulting in a troubling gender gap in patient outcomes, with women bearing a significant burden.

A Voice for Change

Prof. Van Poppel, representing the European Association of Urology, seized the opportunity to shed light on the challenges posed by bladder cancer in Europe. His insights and contributions enriched the roundtable discussions, paving the way for more robust and productive conversations about this critical issue.

Voices of Hope and Change

The policy roundtable featured a distinguished panel of speakers, each with a unique perspective on bladder cancer:

  • Alessandro Boni, a brave bladder cancer patient and advocate.
  • Antonella Cardone, representing Cancer Patients Europe.
  • Dr. Wendy Yared, from the Association of European Cancer Leagues.
  • Claire Champeix, an advocate for Eurocarers.
  • Alex Filicevas, a voice from the World Bladder Cancer Patient Coalition.
  • Lori Cirefice, representing Cancer Vessie France.

Together, they added depth and diversity to the discussions, shedding light on various facets of the bladder cancer challenge in Europe.

Epidemiology of Bladder Cancer in Europe – Incidence and Prevalence

According to the latest statistics, bladder cancer incidence rates show considerable variation across different European countries. For instance, Southern European countries report a lower incidence compared to Northern and Eastern Europe. This variance can be attributed to factors like smoking rates, industrial exposure, and genetic predispositions.

A notable aspect is the gender disparity in bladder cancer cases. Men in Europe are about three to four times more likely to develop bladder cancer compared to women. This disparity is partially explained by historical smoking patterns and occupational exposures, which have traditionally been higher in men.

Age and Lifestyle Factors

Bladder cancer primarily affects older adults, with a significant increase in incidence rates observed in individuals over 60 years. This age-related increase underscores the need for targeted screening and prevention strategies for the ageing population in Europe.

Lifestyle factors play a crucial role in bladder cancer risk. Smoking is the single most significant risk factor, contributing to about half of the cases in men and a substantial proportion in women. Occupational exposure to certain chemicals, primarily in industries like dye, rubber, and chemicals, also elevates the risk.

Comparison with Global Incidence Rates

When compared globally, Europe has one of the highest incidence rates of bladder cancer. This is in contrast to regions like Asia and Africa, where the rates are comparatively lower. These differences highlight the influence of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors in the etiology of bladder cancer.

The launch of the European White Paper on Bladder Cancer marks a significant step toward improving the lives of bladder cancer patients in Europe. By advocating for increased awareness, education, and funding, this initiative promises to improve patient outcomes and ensure that high-quality diagnosis, care, and treatment become accessible to all.

In the face of this silent but potent adversary, the voices of those affected by bladder cancer, along with dedicated healthcare professionals and advocates, are joining forces to bring about change. The European Association of Urology and the World Bladder Cancer Patient Coalition have set the stage for a brighter future, where no one has to face bladder cancer alone.

The European White Paper on Bladder Cancer can be found here:

At Combat Medical, we are committed to improving the treatment of bladder cancer with our BRS hyperthermic system.

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