Breast Cancer Policy Priorities: A Call to Action for the EU Leadership

Transforming Breast Cancer Together (TBCT) is a unique multi-stakeholder group representing patient and healthcare professional organisations, experts and industry whose mission is to place the needs of those living with breast cancer at the heart of European policymaking, with the ultimate objective of improving outcomes for breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families.  

The upcoming elections to the European Parliament and the potential change in leadership within the European Commission are opportunities for policymakers to define and strengthen Europe’s Health Union. It is crucial that healthcare remains one of the political priorities of the upcoming European Parliament mandate. To ensure the European Parliament continues shaping these policies to benefit European citizens and healthcare systems, a dedicated parliamentary committee with legislative powers to address health issues, including cancer and breast cancer, should be established in the new legislature. 

Breast cancer remains one of the most common cancers in the EU. TBCT’s goal is to collaborate on the development of a policy framework that not only addresses healthcare inequalities but also takes into consideration long-term support for breast cancer patients and survivors. The European Parliament plays a major role in ensuring progress in these areas and can demonstrate its political leadership and contribution by focusing on: 

  1. Realising the EU cancer goals – Implementing Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan & Research Mission on Cancer in 2024 and Beyond 
  • Advocate for the establishment of a European Parliament intergroup on cancer to oversee and align breast cancer strategies with national cancer control plans 
  • Champion continuous assessment of the effective implementation of EBCP initiatives, prioritising the Comprehensive Cancer Centres initiative to address holistic patient needs throughout the cancer care journey, coordinating with the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre, and Member States 
  1. Improve access to diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and long-term support for patients, survivors, and their families, as they will all be living with cancer 
  • Advocate for the expansion of access to biomarker testing as by making these diagnostic tests more available, breast cancer can be detected earlier, and each patient can receive the right treatment at the right time   
  • Define “unmet medical need” more clearly in the review of the EU pharmaceutical legislation to ensure better access to diagnosis and treatment for everyone in Europe  
  • Encourage incentives for research and development and flexible regulatory pathways for innovative diagnostics and therapies targeting both early and metastatic breast cancer 
  • Champion EU-harmonised breast cancer data collection across all Member States, including metastatic breast cancer data, to facilitate its use in research and improve knowledge 
  1. Prioritising legislative measures ensuring survivorship policies and the recognition of workplace rights 
  • Prioritise survivors’ reintegration into the job market by developing adapted work environment guidelines for employers and ensure timely action by the European Commission following a Study on job retention and return to work for cancer patients and survivors 
  • Protect the budget in the EU Health funding program (EU4Health) for long-term cancer patient symptom management 

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