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Welcome remarks Dr Elisabete Weiderpass – IARC/WHO EURO Workshop on Implementation of Screening Programmes.

Dear colleagues,

I would like to warmly welcome you to this IARC/WHO EURO Workshop on Implementation of Screening Programmes.

IARC is the cancer research agency of WHO, and we work in close partnership with our WHO colleagues. The Agency is interdisciplinary and brings together skills in epidemiology, laboratory sciences, and biostatistics to identify the causes of cancer.

A key objective of the Agency is to promote international collaboration in cancer research and support countries in their effort to implement effective measures to prevent cancer. IARC has a long experience in coordinating research, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

For example, we provide technical assistance to support high-quality cancer registration across the world. We also provide evidence-based knowledge and technical support to help governments implement intervention strategies and assess their effectiveness.

The collaboration between WHO EURO and IARC dates back to 2017 and has taken various forms, including workshops, joint expert missions in countries, and technical support and training of professionals, with a focus on cancer registries and screening.

This workshop on cancer screening for the CIS and eastern European countries aims at better understanding the principles of cancer screening and the benefits and harms of cancer screening in this region.

Implementing efficient screening programmes in the CIS and eastern European countries is particularly important because the region has increasing incidence rates of some cancers, such as cervical cancer. Understanding the benefits and harms of screening is critical because there is an urgent need to prioritize and plan efficient screening programmes.

Our collaboration can make a difference and provide countries with concrete support towards this goal.

The BELMED project in Belarus is a positive example of what can be achieved through good collaboration between countries, UN agencies including WHO and IARC, and the European Union. IARC provided technical assistance for the implementation of pilot projects on mammography-based breast cancer screening programmes. Thanks to this collaboration, Belarus is now following international standards and is becoming known as a centre of excellence for breast cancer screening.

Throughout this workshop, IARC and WHO will share knowledge and experience in supporting countries to implement evidence-based screening programmes.

This new workshop shows our commitment to collaborate and support countries in order to face the challenges of cancer prevention together.

I wish you a fruitful and productive meeting.

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