Proposals to improve implementation, monitoring and evaluation of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening programmes have been developed in a European project involving scientists and professionals experienced in cancer registration (EUROCOURSE). They call for a clear and more active role for cancer registries through better interfaces with cancer screening programmes and adapting data contents of cancer registries for evaluation purposes. Cancer registries are recognised as essential for adequate evaluation of cancer screening programmes, but they are not involved in screening evaluation in several European countries. This is a key barrier to improving the effectiveness of programmes across Europe. The variation in Europe in the implementation of cancer screening offers a unique opportunity to learn from best practices in collaboration between cancer registries and screening programmes. Population-based cancer registries have experience and tools in collecting and analysing relevant data, e.g. for diagnostic and therapeutic determinants of mortality. In order to accelerate improvements in cancer control we argue that cancer registries should take co-responsibility in promoting effective screening evaluation in Europe. Additional investments are vital to further development of infrastructures and activities for screening evaluation and monitoring in the national settings and also at the pan-European level. The EUROCOURSE project also aimed to harmonise implementation of the European quality assurance guidelines for cancer screening programmes across Europe through standardising routine data collection and analysis, and definitions for key performance indicators for screening registers. Data linkage between cancer and screening registers and other repositories of demographic data and cause of death and where available clinical registers is key to implementing the European screening standards and thereby reducing the burden of disease through early detection. Greater engagement of cancer registries in this collaborative effort is also essential to develop adequate evaluation of innovations in cancer prevention and care.

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European Journal of Cancer
Department of Public Health

Anttila, A., Lönnberg, S., Ponti, A., Suonio, E., Villain, P., Coebergh, J. W., & von Karsa, L. (2014). Towards better implementation of cancer screening in Europe through improved monitoring and evaluation and greater engagement of cancer registries. European Journal of Cancer (Vol. 51, pp. 241–251). doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2014.10.022