MEP and patient group ask Presidency to advance Hepatitis Screening to prevent liver cancer in Europe – ELPA – European Liver Patients Association


2008-01-22 12:00

Brussels, 22 January: During the exchange of views with the Slovenian Health Minister Mrs. Zofija Mazej Kukovic in the European Parliament’s Public Health Committee, Dr. Thomas Ulmer MEP (German, EPP) calls on the Council Presidency to promote targeted Hepatitis Screening across the EU as part of their cancer prevention programme.

ELPA President Mrs. Nadine Piorkowsky explains: “Viral Hepatitis is the main cause of liver cancer in Europe. Patients infected with Hepatitis have a good chance of being cured when diagnosed and treated early. However, the majority of patients remain unaware of their infection for many years, resulting in avoidable and potentially fatal complications such as liver cancer, liver scarring and liver failure.

Dr. Ulmer states: “Targeted screening of risk groups by Member States could defuse what the WHO calls the viral Hepatitis time-bomb. The European Parliament has recognised this in its Written Declaration on Hepatitis C from March 2007, calling upon Council and Commission to adopt a Council Recommendation on Hepatitis C screening. If the Slovenian Presidency wants to stay true to their goal of cancer prevention, Mrs. Kukovic should push for this Council Recommendation among her colleagues.

Facts on Hepatitis & Liver Cancer:

  • Hepatitis C affects approximately 200 million people worldwide and 12 million people in Europe.
  • The situation is similar for Hepatitis B, where 1 million Europeans are newly infected every year.
  • Incidence of liver tumors in Europe is expected to rise by 200% by 2015.

For further information please contact:

Nadine Piorkowsky, ELPA President F. De Renesselaan, 57 B – 3800 Sint-Truiden

Email: [email protected]

Dr. Thomas Ulmer

European Parliament Tel.: +32 (0)2 28 45314

Email: [email protected]