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25 February 2014

EP slams bladder cancer neglect

The European Parliament (EP) thinks too little attention is paid to bladder cancers, which it dubs "forgotten cancers".

The EP quotes WHO figures reporting 120,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in the European Union in 2012, 10% of them thought to be related to exposure at work to toxicants like aromatic amines, chlorinated hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

On 15 October 2013 the EP hosted a “policy expert roundtable" to identify possible ways of improving the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of this type of cancer at European level. ETUI researcher Laurent Vogel was among the speakers.

"If compared to other types of cancer, bladder cancer is rarely found in the health policy agendas both at EU and at Member States level", argues the meeting report released in early February.

The European Parliament’s recommendations to the European Commission take in the Directive on the protection of workers against carcinogens and mutagens whose revision has been stalled since 2004. The experts recommend that the new Directive should include a right to screening for workers exposed to risk factors, including after they have stopped working. The latency period means that bladder cancers tend to appear after age 55.

Work-related cancers should also feature ​​in the European strategy for health and safety at work for 2014-2020, which itself faces many stumbling blocks in the Commission. The document also calls on the Commission to establish a European register of occupational exposures to carcinogens.

Further reading:

Forgotten cancers: the case of bladder cancer - Expert policy roundtable

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