EUROPA DONNA and Advocacy

EUROPA DONNA is a Europe-wide Coalition of affiliated groups of women that facilitates the exchange and spread of pertinent information concerning breast cancer through the different cultures it represents. Full membership is open to European countries as defined by the World Health Organisation as well as to any country that is a potential candidate for admission to the European Union. Each member country has a National Forum that works autonomously within the European framework, selecting those aims it wishes to prioritise from within the Ten Goals of EUROPA DONNA. There are currently 47 country members in the Coalition.

Membership of the National Fora comprises patients, female health professionals, breast cancer-related organisations and institutions and women willing to identify with the fight against breast cancer. It gives breast cancer advocacy a European dimension and facilitates the exchange and spread of pertinent information among the different cultures it represents. The involvement of women, lay and professional, in demanding improvement and standardisation of treatment, supportive care and the training of health professional in the specific needs of patients with breast cancer, is essential.

EUROPA DONNA gives women a voice on breast cancer issues and it is a voice that is listened to.


Lifetime risk 1 in 10
Number of deaths per year* 449,871
Lifetime risk 449,871

*Source: Ferlay, J., Shin, H.R., Bray, F., Forman, D., Mathers, C., Parkin, D.M

GLOBOCAN 2008, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. International Agency for Research on Cancer: Lyon, France 2010. Available from: Ref. 2.

The chance of survival is not only significantly better in some European countries than in others, there is also tremendous variance in regions within certain countries and from hospital to hospital. EUROPA DONNA works to ensure that all European women have access to the best screening and the highest level breast care services available.

Advocacy – the act of representating or promoting a cause or purpose on behalf of oneself or others – can involve influencing policy, affecting legislation and changing attititudes. This is not an easy concept in some European countries and indeed the word “advocacy” is not capable of direct translation into some languages. To further its advocacy objectives and maintain high awareness of its Ten Goals EUROPA DONNA carries out projects and programmes in three main areas:

  • Education
  • Information
  • Lobbying


EUROPA DONNA develops educational projects and organises practical workshops and international conferences as well as collaborative conferences with other organisations. These bring together leading clinicians, health professionals, policy-makers, parliamentarians and lay participants to discuss breast cancer issues and developments and to enhance advocacy skills. These include EUROPA DONNA Pan-European conferences, which are held every two years, and co-sponsoring with the EORTC and EUSOMA on the European Breast Cancer Conferences (EBCC) in the alternating years. The participants at these conferences produce statements (Florence 1998, Brussels 2000, Barcelona 2002, Hamburg 2004, Nice 2006, Berlin 2008, Barcelona 2010, Vienna 2012) which are designed to further the cause of the fight against breast cancer.

In addition, EUROPA DONNA has designed and developed a European Breast Cancer Advocacy Training course which was launched in 2001 and is now held annually in Milan. For a number of years the course was supported by a grant from the European Union.


To ensure that women have access to up-to-date information EUROPA DONNA publishes the ED Guide to Breast Health and ED Breast Health Day News as well as ED newsletters, ED Pan-European Conference Proceedings and booklets on special areas of interest such as clinical trials. In addition, ED has published an ED Short Guide to the EU Guidelines, which is a short, “layman’s” version of the EU Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis (Pub. EU, 2006). ED also publishes periodic press releases and conference proceedings following important events. ED also publishes Policy Statements on subjects such asTransparency, HRT, Genomics and Sponsorship. Other documents of particular interest to ED are made available through our website and can be obtained by contacting our Head Office.


EUROPA DONNA is helping to change attitidues and improve access for women to state-of-the-art breast care at both national and European levels. ED has developed an active advocacy and lobbying campaign, which started many years ago with a reception in Brussels in June 2000 to present breast cancer issues to MEPs. This campaign continued and reached some significant milestones with the launching of the European Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer (EPGBC) in 2001 and the passing of the European Parliament Breast Cancer Resolution in June 2003. In October 2006 a new European Parliament Breast Cancer Resolution was passed. The new Resolution reconfirms the demands of the first resolution on breast cancer of 2003, and incorporates new demands, such as the strengthening of research, job protection for breast cancer patients, and European directives for breast care nurses. In 2010, ED campaigned successfully for aWritten Declaration on breast cancer, which was signed by a majority of MEPs. Europa Donna also runs an annual Information Day at the European Parliament for its Breast Health Day campaign. See also

EUROPA DONNA is helping to change attitudes at both national and European levels.