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Towards Gastric Cancer Screening Implementation in the European Union

An effective screening method to prevent gastric cancer does not yet exist in Europe. The TOGAS project aims to contribute to reducing gastric cancer in Europe by improving early detection of this cancer.


From until

Supported by

Europese Unie

Screening to prevent stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer. Every year, 800,000 people worldwide die from this disease. This figure is expected to increase with the aging population. In Europe, no effective screening method exists yet to prevent stomach cancer. This ensures that stomach cancer is mostly detected at a relatively late stage. 
Promising methods do exist to detect stomach cancer early, such as early detection of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which causes 90 percent of stomach cancer cases. It is expected that with the elimination of this bacterium, 40 percent of stomach cancer deaths could be avoided. Stomach cancer screening combined with the performance of other tests on the digestive tract can also help detect stomach cancer. So far, the possibilities of applying these screening methods on a large scale have not been sufficiently explored. 
Researcher Wessel van de Veerdonk: "Preventing rather than curing cancer is and remains important. Cancer prevention ensures that people have a better quality of life and get older. In addition, it helps to keep the care of the future affordable because expensive treatments can be avoided."

Europe Against Cancer

The TOGAS project is part of the Europe Against Cancer plan and aims to provide the missing knowledge to design and implement an appropriate gastric cancer prevention strategy for the EU. The results of this project will help policy makers to include gastric cancer screening in their strategy to fight cancer. 
In doing so, researchers will weigh the effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of screening methods. The TOGAS project includes three pilot studies in which the researchers are using three different methods to detect gastric cancer. An important part of the project is ensuring that policy makers actually apply the results of the research.

Role of the Thomas More University College

The Thomas More University College is collaborating within this project with 20 institutions from 14 countries. The role of our researchers is to ensure that policy makers can effectively put the knowledge gained about early detection of gastric cancer into practice. 
Our researchers are mapping the extent to which EU countries currently carry out gastric cancer screenings and what wishes and needs they have in the field of gastric cancer prevention. In addition, together with their partners, they are investigating what people think of the various screening methods and how they experience screening. In doing so, they pay particular attention to vulnerable groups.

Vulnerable groups

Vulnerable groups such as immigrants or people with low health literacy are at increased risk of stomach cancer. It is therefore important that information on gastric cancer screening also reaches these groups. However, practice shows that it is difficult to reach vulnerable groups and convey the available information in an understandable way. In this study, we therefore explicitly include the wishes and needs of vulnerable groups.
According to researcher Wessel van de Veerdonk, Thomas More University College's excellent reputation in the field of health communication research targeting vulnerable groups is an important reason why Thomas More may participate in this project. To help other researchers reach vulnerable target groups, the college's researchers will develop a conversation guide during the course of the project with practical tips for actively involving vulnerable groups in projects.


Research coordinator

Janet Takens

Janet is an experienced communications researcher with a passion for government and sustainability communications. She is especially skilled in quantitative research methods. As a former spokesperson and consultant, she knows communications practice.


Marlon van Loo

Marlon Van Loo is a researcher in the People and Well-being Research Group, research line Prevention and empowerment.


Sarah Talboom

Sarah Talboom (MSc Communication Studies) joined Thomas More University of Applied Sciences in 2019. Her expertise lies in the field of inclusive communication.

Research line coordinator

Wessel van de Veerdonk

Wessel van de Veerdonk (Msc) is research coordinator for Prevention and empowerment in the Human and Welfare Research Group. His research focus is currently on optimal preventive health care specifically for people with reduced access.

Related research lines