One good thing to come out of EU is Europa Donna – and we can still be members after Brexit

Europa Donna is a pan-European member organisation, with some very senior members of European Breast Cancer medical communities in membership, They often invite members to deliver important and thought-provoking talks – and any patient who pays the small membership fee (currently £10) is treated as an equal in their community.

Members are spread across Europe and adjoining countries, and the British chapter recently hosted a talk on new developments in treatment of Breast Cancer.  This was interesting, but even more exciting, as a patient, was being able to meet and ask questions as an equal. – and finding doctors and eminent Oncologists listen!

What’s happening in Europe

There was talk of latest developments in America – and a member from Manchester asked what was happening in Europe.  And congratulations to them, at a previous scientific European Breast Cancer Conference held in Glasgow, one of the main talks was about Survivorship: what women need after Breast Cancer.

Speakers included Olivia Pagani, from Switzerland, who says  “I worry about elderly patients who I think are Olivia_Pagani_framed_web.jpgsometimes forgotten…..face the disease alone, and they are often undertreated. There are no specific research trials designed for the elderly.  Now that women are living longer, we should focus on studying the availability of drugs for treatment, improving their quality of life.  Hear hear!

Her talk covered problems faced by Survivors, from self-image to long-term effects of treatment – particularly on those taking Tamoxifen,.

Switzerland seems to take Survivorship seriously – another speaker was Manuela Eicher, breast care nurse from the School of Health in Fribourg. Listening to her talk in German (at another event) I was fascinated to know that there is no German translation for ‘breast care nurses’;  it’s same in their language!   She cited recent studies which show breast cancer survivors have a high degree of unmet supportive care needs compared to people with other cancer types.  Incidentally, English is the usual language used by all Europa Donna members.

So it took the ladies (and male members) of Europa Donna to tell Glasgow what we already know – BUT – was anyone listening there?   I do hope so.

There is an excellent (free) Induction training for new members (I was lucky enough to be selected – and boy! is it worth it!), held every year in Milan (all fees and expenses paid for)

It only costs £10 to become a member – contact

Annual Symposium

28th March 2017.  London.  Speaker will be Prof. Dame Lesley Fallowfield.  Who talks a lot of sense about patients and their experiences in clinical trials.

Europa Donna;




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