Although there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), pharma innovation has helped to increase survivorship. However, patients with MBC face a number of challenges and inequalities across Europe, from screening to social discrimination and lack of knowledge.
Some 355,000 women in the EU have been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, however, it cannot be estimated how many have developed the advanced form.
Citing health technology assessment studies, EU lawmaker Frances Fitzgerald told EURACTIV that treating metastatic breast cancer is about ten times more expensive than dealing with early breast cancer.
“There is work to be done right across Europe,” she said.
In this Special Report, EURACTIV and its network analyse the different obstacles MBC patients face across Europe, as well as the opportunities arising from the European Commission’s push for an EU-wide plan to tackle cancer.
Treatments for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), which affects thousands of European women every year, have progressed and can now significantly prolong a patient’s life but decision-makers still don't take this fully into account, an expert has told EURACTIV.
Although France is seen as a "leader" in organising the care of women with metastatic cancer, as their quality of life has become an essential aspect of patient care in France, screening - which can reduce mortality by 20% - must be stepped up. EURACTIV France reports.
While the German healthcare system is at Europe's forefront in terms of making drugs available for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, problems still arise as some important drugs have been withdrawn from the market.
Despite efforts to raise awareness by the authorities, patients with metastatic breast cancer in Italy are still struggling to understand what options they have and often lose precious time trying to identify the latest available treatments.
Spain’s focus on handling the COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed other vital healthcare fields. Medical professionals warn that an increasing number of patients are now only accessing treatment when the cancer has already spread.
Ewa Myślińska is a 29-year-old patient who has been fighting cancer for four years now. She remembers it was 9 October when she touched her breast incidentally and felt a strange hardness. EURACTIV Poland reports.