Council of Europe 2 October 2013

EUROPA DONNA – THE EUROPEAN BREAST CANCER COALITION CALLS FOR OPTIMUM BREAST CANCER SERVICES AT THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE PLENARY SESSION IN STRASBOURG ON 2 OCTOBER

Parallel Breast Cancer Exhibition welcomes MPs, and a report for a Resolution on Breast Cancer imminent
EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition welcomed national MPs and other interested parties at a Breast Cancer Exhibition at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 2 October and addressed the Plenary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly on the need for optimum breast cancer care for all women across Europe. As an invited speaker, Susan Knox, EUROPA DONNA Executive Director, told parliamentarians from the Council of Europe’s 47 member countries of the need for guideline-standard population-based screening programmes, specialist breast units and recognised breast unit accreditation services.

“Our Coalition has 46 member countries, 40 of which are Council of Europe Member States. Our advocates are active across the continent and in the last 5 years we have seen a distinct improvement in breast cancer services, as well as an increased awareness of the contents of the European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis. However, much remains to be achieved in many countries to ensure that women receive equal, high-quality care. We call on the national MPs present to see that this message reaches their governments,” Ms Knox said.

Stella Kyriakides, MP Cyprus, Council of Europe member and Past President of EUROPA DONNA has successfully put forward a Motion for a Resolution on Breast Cancer at the Council of Europe entitled: “Optimum Care for Women with Breast Cancer”. A report is now being produced and is to be debated and voted on at the Council of Europe in 2014.

In the European Union, two European Parliament Breast Cancer Resolutions and a further Declaration on Breast Cancer call on member states to establish optimum breast cancer care standards. The Resolution of 2006 calls on the member states to introduce nation-wide breast screening, whereby all women aged 50 to 69 are offered a mammogram in line with EU guidelines at 2-year intervals. It also calls for specialist breast units to be set up by 2016 across the EU, progress reports to be provided every 2 years, training of health professionals, guidelines for breast care nurses, and accreditation guidelines for breast units.
Ms Knox also told the Plenary Session attendees about the Coalition’s involvement in the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, whose aim is to develop the first voluntary accreditation scheme for breast cancer services in the EU.

In discussing the Resolution, Mrs Kyriakides said, “All 28 EU member states are also members of the Council of Europe. There is an overlapping need to reach these goals and to spread them across all the Council of Europe Member States as well. We hope to achieve this through the Council of Europe Resolution on Breast Cancer that is now in development.”

EUROPA DONNA hosted a stand at the Breast Cancer Exhibition held in parallel to the Plenary Session on 2 October and representatives were on hand to provide information on breast cancer and the Coalition’s activities throughout the day.

International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates indicate that in Europe one in 10 women may develop breast cancer before they reach the age of 80, while an average of 20-30% of breast cancers occur in women under 50 years of age. According to the World Health Organisation, high-quality mammography screening, i.e. regular invitations to women to undergo free, voluntary mammographies and follow-up diagnoses as part of an organised population-based regional or national programme, can reduce breast-cancer mortality in women aged between 50 and 69 by up to 35%.

About EUROPA DONNA
EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition – is an independent, non-profit organisation whose members are affiliated groups from countries throughout Europe. EUROPA DONNA works to raise public awareness of breast cancer and to mobilise the support of European women in pressing for improved breast cancer education, appropriate screening, optimal treatment and care and increased funding for research. Member countries currently number 46.

About the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organisation. It is an international organisation in Strasbourg which comprises 47 countries of Europe. It was set up to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe.
(For more information: www.coe.int)