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09.05.2007, Roadmap for a European Guideline in the Fight against Colon Cancer - ENGLISH

Munich, May 9, 2007. Leading scientists, physicians and politicians have signed the “Brussels Declaration for the Prevention of Colon Cancer Across Europe“ to mark the end of the conference on The Future of Health in Europe which had been hosted by the Felix Burda Foundation and attended by more than 200 participants from 29 countries.

The “European Conference on Colon Cancer Prevention 2007“, hosted in Brussels by the Felix Burda Foundation and several partner organisations, was today concluded with the signing of the Brussels Declaration. This roadmap establishes the foundation for an EU-wide guideline and the introduction of large-scale colorectal cancer screening programmes in the pan-European fight against the disease. A recommendation from the European Commission to introduce preventive colon cancer screening dates back to the year 2003. The Declaration calls upon the Commission to implement an action plan “Europe Against Colon Cancer“ and a colon cancer prevention guideline, based on best practice examples, compliance with which would be compulsory for all EU member states. Further proposals include the establishment of a pan-European network against colon cancer and the provision of support for the implementation and continuous improvement of quality-assured and controlled national screening programmes.

Karolina Gernbauer, Assistant Secretary of State and Head of the Bavarian EU Representation in Brussels, opened the conference by emphasizing the urgency of the issue: “Colon cancer has become the most common newly diagnosed cancer in Europe“, she said, “contracted, every year, by more than 400,000 citizens across Europe – an alarming and terrifyingly high number which could be drastically cut if we made full use of our arsenal in combating this disease. Colon cancer, after all, can be more easily treated than most other cancers – provided it is recognised and dealt with at an early stage.”

Representatives from 29 countries –including Israel, Japan, Nigeria and nearly all European countries – attended the one-day conference. The internationally renowned speakers, scientists and colon cancer specialists seized the opportunity of discussing concrete colon cancer prevention strategies with the representatives of European institutions and health policy decision-makers from different countries. Christa Maar, President of the Felix Burda Foundation, explained why it was so important to combat this illness: “While colon cancer is the most common cancer and one of the most fatal types of the disease in Europe, this is one fight that we can win – early recognition is the key to nearly total prevention.“

The conference was concluded with a gala dinner in the facilities of the EU Representation of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. After a welcoming address from Dr. Ingo Friedrich, Quaestor of the European Parliament, the seventy invited guests from the worlds of science, academia and politics had ample opportunity of continuing their discussions and establishing new contacts with like-minded experts from all over Europe. The guests included Christoph Jessen, the German Ambassador in Belgium, Matthias Schuppe, Secretary-General of the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) and Ulrich Weigeldt, Chairman of the German Association of GPs (KBV).


Each year in Europe alone, more than 400,000 people are newly diagnosed with colon cancer while 212,000 people are dying from the disease – unnecessarily, because nearly all of these fatalities could be prevented by early recognition. Only a few European countries have so far implemented a nationwide colon cancer screening programme, even though all countries in the EU are afflicted by similarly high colon cancer incidence and mortality rates and the recommendation from the European Commission to introduce nationwide colon cancer screening programmes in all member states – to complement similar programmes for breast and cervical cancer – dates back to the year 2003.
This is why the Felix Burda Foundation and its partner organisations have decided to host this "European Conference on Colon Cancer Prevention“ in Brussels on the occasion of the German EU Council Presidency, providing top-level representatives from politics, health organisations, medical societies and the media to discuss the different screening strategies and to make advances towards a scientific consensus about the different national screening programmes.
The “European Conference on Colon Cancer Prevention 2007“ took place under the patronage of the German EU Council Presidency and the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer (UICC). It was supported by all major European cancer charities such as the IDCA. The conference was organised in close cooperation with the Brussels office of the Hanns Seidel Foundation and has been made possible by generous support from the Olympus Medical Systems Europa GmbH, the Nürnberg Messe GmbH and Siemens Medical Solutions.

You can find comprehensive information about the conference and live streaming videos as well as other (freely downloadable) image material under www.future-health-2007.com or www.colon-cancer-europe.com.

Press contact:
Felix Burda Stiftung
Bettina Müller
Director Marketing & Communications
Rosenkavalierplatz 10
81925 Munich / Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)89 9250 2710
Fax: +49 (0)89 9250 2713
Mobile: +49 (0)172 775 9451

Felix Burda Stiftung
Dirk Hoppe
Marketing & Communications
Rosenkavalierplatz 10
81925 Munich / Germany 
Tel.: +49 (0)89 9250 1761
Fax: +49 (0)89 9250 2713
Mobile: +49 (0)151 57293210

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Press Contact

Verena Welker
Marketing & Communications
Phone: +49 (0)89 - 9250 1747
Fax: +49 (0)89 9250 - 2713
E-Mail: verena.welker@foundation.burda.com