While there is significant need to improve breast services, much progress has been made over the last 15 years. Over the years, EUROPA DONNA has played an important role in achieving changes in policy and gaining agreement to implement important breast services nationally. As Europe’s breast cancer advocacy organisation, EUROPA DONNA -The European Breast cancer Coalition has been working to ensure that women in Europe have access to accurate up to date information, quality mammography screening, optimal treatment and follow up for breast cancer. Advocating for population based mammography screening programs and for specialist breast units have been among our key priorities since 2000. Since that time EUROPA DONNA has worked directly with MEPS on the drafting and passage of the 2003 and 2006 resolutions on breast cancer as well as the 2010 and 2015 written declarations on the fight against breast cancer in the EU.
European Parliament Activities
In 2003 the European Parliament passed its first Resolution on Breast Cancer. This Resolution detailed targets and quality standards on everything from mortality rates to how mammograms are read, and it called on member states to monitor and report back on their progress, giving the European Commission the task of ensuring that countries do their utmost to comply. For EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition, these were the culmination of many years of advocacy efforts.
In October 2006, The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new Breast Cancer Resolution 2006 for the 27 EU member states. The new resolution reconfirmed the demands of the first resolution on breast cancer of 2003, and incorporated new demands, such as the strengthening of research, job protection for breast cancer patients, and European directives for breast care nurses. In 2010, a majority of MEPs signed the Written Declaration on Breast Cancer, which reaffirmed all of the items called for in the earlier breast cancer resolutions and in 2015 the European Parliament passed a Written Declaration on the Fight Against Breast Cancer in the European Union (0017/2015) which was co-authored by ten MEPs and backed by EUROPA DONNA. The 2015 Declaration called for the implementation of nationwide mammography screening and multidisciplinary specialist breast units (SBU’s), that those with metastatic breast cancer should have access to and be treated in an SBU as well as calling on the Commission to ensure that the ECIBC- European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer deliver an accreditation protocol for breast cancer services. For both the Resolutions and Declarations, EUROPA DONNA was actively engaged in advocating to ensure that breast cancer stays at the top of the health agenda for European women.
EUROPA DONNA continues to have an ongoing collaboration with MEP’s interested in breast cancer and participates annually in several meetings. In 2018 EUROPA DONNA participated in the meeting I have cancer but I want to work. Working rights of cancer patients event at the European Union Parliament which was hosted by MEP Lieve Wierinck, and is an initiative of the Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) Global Alliance. Starting in 2018, EUROPA DONNA is participating in the Transforming Breast Cancer Initiative together with MEP’s and other stakeholders. EUROPA DONNA also contributed to the White Paper on A New Collaborative Initiative To Improve Breast Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis And Care Across Europe which was recently published by the Transforming Breast Cancer Initiative.
Much still needs to be accomplished before European policy is translated into national practice and we need to keep up the momentum. ED has worked actively through its publications, conferences, training courses and other activities to get the Resolutions of 2003 and 2006 and the Written Declarations of 2010 and 2015 implemented in our member countries. All these publications are available on our website and are also distributed by all our member countries.
National Parliamentary Activities
National parliamentary groups and projects on breast cancer have been launched in many of our member countries. All of these initiatives play a crucial role to get individual Member States to upgrade their services in line with the European policy and EU Guidelines. The combined efforts of EUROPA DONNA with its 47 national groups working on the same issues with a united voice has made a major impact on getting EU Guidelines known and accepted throughout Europe. For more information on national parliamentary activities see member countries.
Following the passage of the European Parliament Resolutions in 2003 and 2006, EUROPA DONNA has advocated for the European Commission to ensure the development of a European Accreditation scheme for breast cancer services. In 2012, the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC) was launched and EUROPA DONNA is a stakeholder providing the patient advocate perspective and recommendations to the JRC concerning this project. The ECIBC is a European Commission initiative to develop evidence-based recommendations and a quality assurance scheme for the entire pathway of breast cancer care, including screening, diagnosis and treatment through to end-of-life care. The European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), which is responsible for European Union (EU) policies that improve and protect public health, has given the task of coordinating the scientific and technical aspects of the ECIBC to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre based in Ispra, Italy. The ECIBC has convened two expert groups, the Guideline Development Group (GDG) and the Quality Assurance Scheme Development Group (QASDG) that meet regularly to steer content, assess evidence and vote on recommendations. Both groups are composed of breast cancer experts, including patient advocates.
EU Policy Documents
- EU Written Declaration of 2015
- EU written Declaration of 2010
- European Parliament Resolution 2006
- European Parliament Resolution 2003
- Cancer Screening in the European Union 2017
- World Cancer Report 2014
- Cancer Screening in the European Union First Report 2008
- Council Recommendation on Cancer Screening 2 December 2003
European Code Against Cancer