TRANSFORMING BREAST CANCER TOGETHER 06/02/2019
Throughout 2018 the group executed a number of awareness building activities under the concept of a “String of Pearls”, where each activity aimed at raising awareness of pressing issues concerning breast cancer represents a new ‘pearl’ on the string. Indeed, a number of initiatives commenced to address a multitude of issues related to breast cancer prevention and care, including the need to address the differences in cancer care across European Member States, the importance of diagnosing and treating breast cancer in the early stages, the need for support in the workplace for patients suffering from breast cancer, and the unique needs of patients with advanced breast cancer.Some of the concrete outcomes of the ‘Transforming Breast Cancer Together’ initiative include: The direct and regular involvement of 3 Members of the European Parliament in defining the strategy and activities of the campaign, plus the involvement of other stakeholders in the groups outreach, including the European Commissioner for Health and EU Member States’ Ministers of Health. Patient empowerment through various activities which have directly or indirectly targeted patients, such as: The dissemination of the “Call to Action” to patient advocates in 47 countries by Europa Donna, as well as by ECPC and other members of the campaign. An interview by Working With Cancer of MEP Lieve Wierinck about her experience with cancer and her political commitment to improve cancer care. Two op-eds written by supporting MEPs published in both EU outlets and national publications aimed at increasing general public awareness of the challenges of breast cancer and existing disparities in Europe. Addressing the critical need for implementation of Breast Cancer Units across Europe and the standardization in the management of patients through specialized breast cancer specialists. Indeed, the group has been raising awareness about a European accreditation in Breast Cancer Surgery that ESO, ESSO, EUSOMA and Europa Donna have started to develop in order to standardize breast cancer surgical treatments regardless of the country in which the patient is treated. In light of the above, this white paper intends to provide an up-to-date overview of the health and economic burden of breast cancer in Europe, and present breast cancer not only as a population health problem, but also as a socio-economic problem, as it underlines that European healthcare systems are still heterogeneous with stark inequalities existing in access, quality and patient outcomes. Lastly, it will review recent EU level policy initiatives related to breast cancer, as it stresses that the EU has played an important role in tackling breast cancer and that it should continue to provide its support on breast cancer diagnosis and care. Indeed, the white paper comes at a crucial time for the EU, with European elections coming up in May 2019 and policymakers about to discuss the competences, the scope and the priorities of the European Union.
Full white paper available in link below: