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, 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 8
Number of deaths per year* 150,700
Number of incidence per year* 562,500

*WHO Europe region includes 53 countries. Incidence data include all countries except for Andorra, Monaco and San Marino.

Source: Ferlay J, Ervik M, Lam F, Colombet M, Mery L, Piñeros M, Znaor A, Soerjomataram I, Bray F (2018). Global Cancer Observatory: Cancer Today. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer. Available from:, accessed [30 October 2018].

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 and include EUROPA DONNA Pan-European conferences, which are held every two years, and the European Breast Cancer Conferences (EBCC) which EUROPA DONNA co-organises with the  EORTC and EUSOMA . Emanating from these conferences are statements and manifestos 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.  EUROPA DONNA also provides continuing education for its members through the Advocacy Leader Conference which has been held every two years since 2008 and MBC Conferences and trainings since 2017.


To ensure that women have access to up-to-date information EUROPA DONNA publishes Annual Newsletters,  Annual Reports and Breast Health booklets as well as booklets on special areas of interest such as clinical trials and research. In addition, EUROPA DONNA has published a EUROPA DONNA Advocates Guide to the ECIBC- European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer, which is the first booklet in a series to help advocates understand the new European Breast Guidelines which are web based. EUROPA DONNA also publishes periodic press releases and conference proceedings following important events. Other documents of particular interest to EUROPA DONNA are made available through our website and can be obtained by contacting our Head Office.


EUROPA DONNA is helping to change attitudes and improve access for women to state-of-the-art breast care at both national and European levels. EUROPA DONNA has developed an active advocacy and lobbying campaign, which started many years ago with a reception in Strasbourg in July 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 second European Parliament Breast Cancer Resolution was passed. This 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, EUROPA DONNA campaigned successfully for a Written Declaration on breast cancer, which was signed by a majority of MEPs. In 2015 the European Parliament passed a written declaration on the Fight Against Breast Cancer in the European Union (0017/2015) co-authored by ten MEPs and backed by EUROPA DONNA. The 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.


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