On the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the JRC presents a plethora of new, evidence-based recommendations for breast cancer healthcare on its new, enhanced, user-friendly website.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the European Union. Statistics from the European Cancer Information System (ECIS) estimated more than 400 000 new breast cancer cases diagnosed in 2018 only in EU-28, accounting for 29% of all new cancer diagnoses.
As great disparities and inequities persist across Europe when it comes to breast cancer prevention, early-detection, care and outcomes (i.e. survival), the EU spearheads many initiatives on cancer, including the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC). ECIBC works to improve the quality of breast cancer screening, diagnosis and care across Europe. It develops and provides evidence-based recommendations (guidelines) in a Quality Assurance scheme to facilitate implementation by breast cancer services in EU Member States.
Not only does this help reduce the burden of cancer, it also helps address the avoidable differences in breast cancer incidence, prevalence, mortality and survival, both between and within Member States.
Examples of recommendations we publish today include those on (1) staging interventions prior to treatment, (2) communication skills' training for healthcare professionals, (3) the optimal number of readings for radiologists in screening programmes and (4) digital means to invite women to screening programmes.
In this release, we also include new synthesised versions of our already published recommendations, now tailored for use by persons without medical knowledge and using clear language to empower women to take informed decisions.
This new website also provides the first release of an online catalogue of trustworthy guidelines for all breast cancer processes after screening and diagnosis (i.e. treatment, rehabilitation, survivorship and follow-up, palliative and end-of-life care). These guidelines, developed by organisations worldwide, have been selected according to strict eligibility criteria, thereby covering the whole breast cancer healthcare pathway. In essence, ECIBC informs women and guides healthcare professionals and policymakers to plan, organise, and deliver effective and accessible breast cancer services.
ECIBC will be completed and available to all Member States in 2020 and then the JRC will start its next big project, namely, the European Commission Initiative on Colorectal Cancer (ECICC).