EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition

is an independent non-profit organisation whose members are affiliated groups from countries throughout Europe. The Coalition works to raise awareness of breast cancer and to mobilise the support of European women in pressing for improved breast cancer education, appropriate screening, optimal treatment and increased funding for research. EUROPA DONNA represents the interests of European women regarding breast cancer to local and national authorities as well as to institutions of the European Union.

EUROPA DONNA Early Breast Cancer Advocates Speak Out

EUROPA DONNA has launched a new video series called: EUROPA DONNA Early Breast Cancer Advocates Speak Out.   The first two videos are available on our YouTube channel and feature EUROPA DONNA President Tanja Spanic and Communications Officer Barbara Klein as they share their experiences after their early breast cancer diagnosis.

Our 15th Pan European Conference 23-24 October 2021 is going VIRTUAL!

EUROPA DONNA’s 15th Pan-European Conference, entitled “New Strategies for a New Normal,” will give participants an overview of the state of breast cancer advocacy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to impact every aspect of breast services in Europe and threatens hard-fought progress we have made over the past quarter century. The conference will provide updated information to help advocates improve breast services in their countries, making use of lessons learned in the pandemic. Scientific experts will provide lectures on research, breast imaging and the role of AI in screening, breast surgery and testing for biomarkers and personalized care. Implementation of the ECIBC project and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will be covered as well as topics of interest to advocates such as return to work after breast cancer and dealing with long term effects of breast cancer treatment. Advocates will participate in workshops giving practical guidance on managing long term survivorship, and strategies for return to work. Special networking groups for young women with breast cancer, women with metastatic breast cancer and women with genetic risk will be held.

Full details available here

To download the conference brochure click here

28 May 2021- International Day of Action for Womens Health is celebrated every year on 28 May and established as a reminder to address the multiple causes of disease and death that affect women all over the world. Every woman has a right to Access Quality Health Care, no matter which part of the world she hails from, what age she is, or what her ethnicity or religion is. To mark the occasion, ED Communications Officer Barbara Klein was a guest on the latest episode of the EU Patients Podcast where she discussed what it means for women with breast cancer to have access to quality health care and what can be done to make sure that all women have access to quality health care.

Listen to episode #12






1 June 2021- Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is an important step regarding the EU’s action on tackling cancer, but its pivotal success will be dependent on the Plan’s execution.  To achieve the Plan’s purposeful goals and to maximise its potential, it will be essential for policy and decision-makers to support the Member States in the implementation of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.  In this context, Transforming Breast Cancer Together of which EUROPA DONNA is a member, launched its Renewed Call for Change in which the coalition analyses the Commission’s proposed actions on cancer and provides a set of recommendations aimed at reducing inequalities and ensuring better breast cancer care for the benefit of patients in the EU. TBCT calls all EU policymakers on both national and EU levels to implement the Plan ensuring that no one is left behind.

Call for change available here

26 May 2021- Europa Donna is part of the Transforming Breast Cancer Initiative (TBCT). On the occasion of #EWAC2021 the TBCT initiative organized a webinar on “Improving Breast Cancer Care: Using the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic as a blueprint?” While the pandemic revealed vulnerabilities in our healthcare systems, it also displayed opportunities for improvement. The virtual event was hosted by MEP Frances Fitzgerald. During the event, ED President Tanja Spanic spoke about the challenges that patients faced during the pandemic as well as the positives that came out such as telemedicine and electronic prescriptions. She stressed that moving forward we all have to work together to make sure that health systems are prepared for the next pandemic.   The event was chaired by Dr. Fatima Cardoso, MEP Frances Fitzgerald gave the keynote presentation which was followed by a panel that included Tanja, Brigitte Nolet (Roche) and Dr Isabel Rubio (President of EUSOMA and ESSO).

Press release


10 March 2021- Europa Donna is part of the Transforming Breast Cancer Initiative (TBCT).  To mark International Women’s Day, TBCT organised a virtual event raising awareness about the realities of living with breast cancer during COVID-19.  The event entitled “Shedding a light on women’s health: Discussing the realities of living with breast cancer during COVID-19” was chaired by Frances Fitzgerald, MEP and Chair of TBCT.  Barbara Klein, Communications Officer at Europa Donna – the European Breast Cancer Coalition – gave a powerful testimony, narrating her own cancer journey in times of COVID-19, offering an insight into the daily reality of a breast cancer patient during the pandemic.  Dr Isabel Rubio, Head of Breast Surgical Oncology at Clinica Universidad de Navarra in Madrid and Dr Fatima Cardoso, Director of the Breast Unit of the Champalimaud Clinical Center in Lisbon, provided details on the disruptive impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on cancer services and treatment pathways.

Full Press Release

2 March 2021- EUROPA DONNA- The European Breast Cancer Coalition has just released three new videos for its MBC Advocates Speak out section of the MBC subsite.  MBC Advocates from Norway, Spain and Italy share their experiences of living with MBC.  The videos are available on the website here and on Europa Donna’s YouTube channel.

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

4 February 2021- EUROPA DONNA- The European Breast Cancer Coalition welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.”  Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and, in women, it accounts for 1 in 4 cancer cases a year (see ref.). EUROPA DONNA and its 47 member countries will strongly advocate for the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. Launched last year on World Cancer Day, it has 4 key action areas: (1) prevention, (2) early detection, (3) diagnosis and treatment and (4) quality of life of cancer patients and survivors that will be supported by 10 flagship initiatives and multiple supporting actions.  EUROPA DONNA calls on all stakeholders to help with the implementation of the Plan in the coming years.

For more information see:

Press release
Questions and Answers
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

Feedback form EUROPA DONNA

European Breast Cancer Council manifesto 2020: Why is appropriate healthcare inaccessible for many European breast cancer patients?

The European Breast Cancer Council manifesto 2020: Why is appropriate healthcare inaccessible for many European breast cancer patients? that emanated from EBCC-12 has now been published in the The Breast 55 (2021) 128-125. ED Past President and current Executive Board Member, Elizabeth Bergsten Nordstrom represented ED on the Manifesto Committee and is a co-author.

Article Breast conservation and axillary management after primary systemic therapy in patients with early-stage breast cancer: the Lucerne toolbox Published in the Lancet Oncology

EUROPA DONNA President, Tanja Spanic, EUROPA DONNA Past President, Mona Elzayat and EUROPA DONNA C.E.O., Susan Knox were panelists in a Conference held in Lucerne, Switzerland on 8 February 2019, aimed at reaching a consensus on the major clinical questions from diagnosis to surgery and providing clinical Guidelines and recommendations as well as a toolbox, “The Lucerne Toolbox”, to improve breast conservation rates and to guide axillary management after preoperative systemic therapy (PST). The consensus meeting resulted in the paper: Breast conservation and axillary management after primary systemic therapy in patients with early-stage breast cancer: the Lucerne toolbox which was published in the January 2021 edition of The Lancet, Oncology.

EUROPA DONNA and COVID: Addressing the Challenges of Breast Cancer Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Europe

EUROPA DONNA has published a report on “Addressing the Challenges of Breast Cancer Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Europe.”  EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition and its national groups quickly reacted to the unfolding situation to support advocates and women across Europe to access breast services under difficult and ever changing circumstances. This report highlights the Coalition’s work, and that of some of our close collaborators, in light of COVID-19 from March through December 2020 and what we have learned.

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: Bridging the Gap in Breast Cancer Care

To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Transforming Breast Cancer Together organised an awareness raising event on 15 October. Europa Donna External Affairs Director Marzia Zambon participated in the event and spoke about the unmet needs of Breast Cancer patients, highlighting the need to harmonise breast cancer care across the EU.

Press release

Video recording of Webinar 

European Cancer Summit 2020 – 18 & 19 November 2020 -Working Together Against Cancer: Breaking Down Barriers & Saving Lives

Every year, the European Cancer Organisation brings together leading oncology specialists, patient advocates, politicians and policy-makers to discuss the main issues impacting cancer policy, for the benefit of citizens, cancer patients and healthcare professionals across Europe.

The European Cancer Summit 2020 will include sessions on the EU Cancer Mission, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan; the Impact of COVID-19 on Cancer; as well as the subjects covered by the European Cancer Organisation’s Focused Topic Networks.   ED Executive Board Member, Sema Erdem who serves as the Co-Chair of the Patient Advisory Committee will take part in the session on How to implement Quality Cancer Care in Europe: From good intentions to patient benefit on 18 November.  ECCO is offering a special rate for Patient Advocates.

Find out the latest information about the Summit programme and confirmed speakers on

EUROPA DONNA Survey on the Current State of Breast Services in Europe

In July/August 2020, EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition carried out a Survey throughout its 47 member countries to provide a snapshot of the current state of Breast Services in Europe from the perspective of patient advocacy organisations. The survey covered mammography screening programmes and diagnosis, specialist breast units, metastatic breast cancer, access to medicines, work/insurance issues, as well as COVID-19.  We are pleased to announce that the results of the survey have now been published.

To see the full report click here.

European Breast Cancer Conference – (EBCC – 12) – Virtual

EBCC -12 was held Virtually 2-3 October 2020. This was a unique experience where you could view live broadcasts for the famous oxford style debates, best practice sessions, multidisciplinary teams in the real world sessions, best and late breaking abstracts and much more. No time to view all sessions? Then you can watch the “on demand” sessions at your leisure. For more information click here.

Europa Donna Press release

Launch of The European Code of Cancer Practice: Championing the Rights of Cancer Patients Across Europe

Brussels, 23 September 2020: The European Cancer Organisation today launched a brand new initiative for empowering European citizens and cancer patients with ten key overarching Rights, signposting what cancer patients in Europe should expect from their healthcare system. The European Code of Cancer Practice (The Code) has been produced to assist every person with cancer across Europe to receive the best possible care, treatment, and support. Executive Board member, Sema Erdem is Co-Chair of the Patient Advisory Committee and worked on the team that developed The Code. During the launch meeting today, Sema spoke about key right n. 2: Information. You can also see a video of Sema discussing this right here.

Press Release
For more information on The Code click here

In Memory of Karen Benn

It is with great sadness that EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition mourns the loss of Karen Benn, our Deputy CEO. Karen was a dedicated advocate working relentlessly to further Europa Donna’s advocacy goals for more than 18 years. Her intelligence, grace and communication skills enabled her to make an enormous contribution to Europa Donna carrying out projects in a wide variety of areas, from policy at the European Parliament to research projects with BIG and the European Commission, from ECIBC to managing our Advocacy Training course for many years.

Her acumen, her wit, her beauty, and her dedication to breast cancer advocacy will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. Her life and career serve as an example of what an advocate can be and what an advocate can accomplish on behalf of others. We will continue to learn from her example- to carry out and improve our advocacy programs wherever we are in Europe. That is what she would want and that is what we shall do.

2020 Cancer Incidence and Mortality in EU-27 Countries

22 July 2020- The Joint Research Centre- JRC, released the 2020 estimates on the burden of cancer in the EU. The new estimates confirm that female Breast Cancer is still considered to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer with over 355,000 women in the EU-27 being diagnosed in 2020. For more details see:

COVID-19 and Breast Cancer

During this time, EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition continues to provide our services, aiming to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on our programmes and plans advancing breast cancer advocacy.  We are currently moving forward with various activities using virtual meetings and look forward to resuming our normal activities as soon as possible.

We realise this is a difficult and challenging period for all citizens and certainly for breast cancer patients and survivors as they may be at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 in a more serious form.  We encourage everyone to follow the guidelines and requirements in force in their individual countries.

ABC Global Alliance Joint Statement on The Impact of COVID-19 on Cancer Patient Organisations

On 6 July, the ABC Global Alliance together with 7 global cancer coalitions and alliances, representing 650 patient advocacy and other cancer organizations and the interests of over 14 million patients around the world, released a Statement to call for a global plan of action for cancer to meet the challenges of future pandemics or health crises. The statement highlights the need for patient advocacy organizations, governments and health services at the national and global level to work together with other key stakeholders including industry and academia, to ensure that we regain the ground that has been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full document available here.







The Transforming Breast Cancer Together initiative, of which Europa Donna is a member, has published a statement highlighting some of the most pressing challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought upon breast cancer patients.

We are also providing links here to resources that have been developed by EPF European Patients Forum and the ABC Global Alliance. The EPF is an umbrella organisation that works with patients’ groups in public health and health advocacy across Europe and has put together a resource page dedicated to COVID-19. The ABC Global Alliance, a multi-stakeholder platform for those interested in collaborating on common projects relating to advanced breast cancer, to inform patients and support oncology professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it was primarily created for the MBC/ABC community, the resources can be useful to patients undergoing treatment for cancer, cancer survivors and those with a compromised immune system. These do not represent the opinions or recommendations of Europa Donna but may be helpful to you at this difficult time of crisis across Europe.

EPF Covid-19 Resources

ABC Global Alliance Covid-19 and Cancer

ECIBC Information Corner on COVID-19 and breast cancer

BRESO -The European Breast Surgical Oncology Certification Curriculum published

EUROPA DONNA is pleased to announce that the BRESO -The European Breast Surgical Oncology Certification Curriculum -Theoretical and practical knowledge curriculum for European Breast Surgeons has been published in the European Journal of Surgical Oncology.  ED has been advocating for European standards for breast surgery for many years to ensure that women receive high quality care which then results in better outcomes.  ED CEO Susan Knox served as the patient advocate representative on the BRESO organisational/management structure working group during the development over the last 18 months which led to the launch of the curriculum.

For more information on BRESO click here.

Europa Donna Supports Transforming Breast Cancer Together:European Elections Manifesto 2019

Brussels, 9 April 2019 –The Transforming Breast Cancer Initiative launched a manifesto entitled “European Elections Manifesto 2019: Seizing the Opportunities for Breast Cancer Patients”,which urges incoming Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission to ensure that breast cancer prevention and care are a top priority during their mandate, and that the issue ranks high on both the EU and Member States agendas.  For more information see the press release and full Election Manifiesto.


European Commission Initiative On Breast Cancer – ECIBC Joint Research Centre (JRC)

EUROPA DONNA has been advocating for the development of an accreditation scheme for breast cancer services as well as a new edition of the European Guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer screening and diagnosis. This European Union project is now under way and is being managed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre; it is called ECIBC (European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer) and is overseen by DG Sante. ED’s Executive Director Susan Knox takes part in the Guidelines Development Group and Deputy CEO/Head of Public Affairs Karen Benn takes part in the Quality Assurance Scheme Development Group. ED is a stakeholder and will continue to be invited to make presentations and to participate in other meetings regarding the development of this project, which began in September 2015.