EUROPA DONNA – THE EUROPEAN BREAST CANCER COALITION CELEBRATES 20 YEARS AT THE 9TH EUROPEAN BREAST CANCER CONFERENCE
EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition marked 20 years as Europe’s breast cancer advocacy organisation at a reception held on 21 March at the 9th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC9) in Glasgow, Scotland. Almost 100 EUROPA DONNA members and scientists from many of the Coalition’s 46 member countries attended and viewed the 20-year video produced for the occasion. It featured EUROPA DONNA’s Past Presidents, CEO and ED advocates from a wide range of member countries citing the strengths of the organisation, its history and its future priorities.
“It was encouraging to see so many of our advocates and our scientific partners come together to mark the end of the conference by celebrating two decades of our advocacy work. It is also a celebration of everything we plan to achieve together so that women across Europe have equal access to high quality breast cancer care. Holding the celebration at EBCC9 helps to reinforce our commitment to working hand in hand with researchers and scientists,” said Susan Knox, Executive Director of EUROPA DONNA. The 20-year video will be posted shortly on YouTube and a series of shorter segments will be posted throughout the year; a “20 Years of European Breast Cancer Advocacy” brochure was distributed in all the EBCC9 delegate bags.
EUROPA DONNA co-organises the conference in partnership with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists (EUSOMA). This year numerous sessions were devoted to the Coalition’s current and future priorities:
• The importance of specialist breast units and the multidisciplinary team
• The European Commission breast service accreditation project
• Optimum treatment and support for women with metastatic breast cancer
• Primary and secondary prevention of breast cancer and the importance of lifestyle choices
• Survivorship and the needs of women after breast cancer
Another main advocacy priority was the release of an EBCC9 Manifesto “Optimal Pathology Should be Available in a Timely Manner to Every Breast Cancer Patient”. This document outlines a woman’s right to access all clinical information relevant to her case and will serve as a tool for further advocacy initiatives at a EU level. The widely attended EUROPA DONNA Wrap up sessions also helped to summarize the key scientific findings presented each day.
EUROPA DONNA President Elisabeth Bergsten Nordström presented the European Breast Cancer Arts and Humanities Award to Irish ceramic artist Orla Kaminska for her mosaic created for the Plurabelle Paddlers, a dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors. This underlines the Coalition’s commitment to promoting physical activity in breast cancer prevention and remediation of adverse effects following treatment. In the EBCC9 closing session Ms Bergsten Nordström reiterated EUROPA DONNA’s advocacy priorities and the need for continued collaboration between scientists and patients.
The European Breast Cancer Conference, held every two years, is the only conference of its kind bringing together advocates, clinicians, scientistis and researchers in one arena. The next conference, EBCC-10, is to be held 9-11 March 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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.