Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-048"

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"Madam President, Commissioner, breast cancer kills too many women in the European Union, many of them far too young. These deaths are unacceptable given that we know that early detection can cure this cancer. We are all aware of the mental and physical trauma suffered by women diagnosed with this illness: they have to reorganise their family and working life and, quite simply, deal with it. However, there is absolutely no harmonisation at European level with regard to the way in which we combat the scourge of breast cancer. Only ten Member States run screening programmes, with varying degrees of success. European women are therefore faced with a blatantly unfair situation, simply because of which country, or even which town, they live in. Commissioner, our aim is to eradicate this disease, in the knowledge that, quite apart from the traumatic experience for the patient, it has a cost for our society. The solution to this blight is early, compulsory screening, organised by the governments of the Member States. In order to be effective, this screening must be free, and above all must be well run, which requires the availability of up-to-date equipment throughout the European Union. Digital mammography, which in the past sometimes missed microcalcifications – the most common signs of breast cancer – has made considerable progress, so, Commissioner, when are we going to have digital mammograms throughout the European Union? Effective screening also requires all the equipment to be subject to calibration and therefore to quality controls, because there is nothing worse than giving women a false sense of security through a radiological examination that could be of poor quality. For this screening to be effective, equipment on its own is not enough: the doctors who perform these diagnostic tests must undertake continuing training, as well as regular refresher courses and compulsory testing to evaluate their skills. Finally, women need information regarding the prevention of breast cancer: they need advice on healthy living and food safety, and must not be afraid of screening. Research must enable us to make progress in finding the causes of breast cancer. I am convinced that, if we combine our efforts, we will once again be able to show what the European Union can do to improve the health of European women. That is certainly a subject that should have unanimous support in the European Union: zero deaths from breast cancer in Europe!"@en1

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