The European Cancer Patient Coalition team will run during the half-marathon event in Brussels, which will take place on the 6th of October. ECPC has a long standing history in raising awareness and advocating for adequate access to health care and social services at the EU level by cancer patients. As cancer is the 2nd cause of death in Europe ECPC has allocated much of its resources also in research on biobanking, biomarkers, clinical trials and use of electronic resources by cancer patients and clinicians, being an active partner in 3 EU funded multinational projects.

This year ECPC will focus on a rare type of breast cancer, namely, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC is the most aggressive form of breast cancer which usually cannot be detected during a mammogram. Women diagnosed with IBC (less than 30% survive in 5 years time) are also known to have poorer survival outcomes compared with those with non-IBC tumours (more than 80% survive in five years time). The non-specificity of the current diagnostic criteria coupled with the recognition that many women with IBC are misdiagnosed with mastitis are the primary causes of delayed diagnosis and management of this aggressive disease. The late diagnosis and the aggressively of the cancer not only leads to poorer survival but also to poor quality of life.

Through a series of events ECPC intends to:

  • Raise awareness about IBC (e.g. risk factors, symptoms) and promote education of patient and physician;
  • Advocate for IBC research in Europe for defining clear diagnosis and management protocol of IBC;
  • Advocate for psycho-social support to IBC patients and carers by IBC trained oncology nurses, social workers and psychologists.

Please take a moment and think about all these people, who could be your mother, wife, sister. They may not have the chance to identify in time their risk of developing cancer not because they are ignorant but mostly because the information is scarce and the available data that exist is not well understood by clinicians and is not disseminated to patients. Our way of fighting this is not necessarily through the money you might donate for the cause, but more importantly by raising awareness about this increasing problem. Never forget, small drops make a mighty ocean.