Last week (29/10) MEP Frances Fitzgerald shared her op-ed on the Transforming Breast Cancer Together Initiative with Parliament Magazine. The full article can be found here.

”This week sees European Parliament Gender Equality Week, with events held in many committees looking at the gender perspective of their work. The new Special Committee on Beating Cancer held a hearing on breast cancer specifically to mark the week and also to mark October, Breast Cancer awareness month. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unprecedented crisis to Europe, reflected both economically and societally, particularly in health and healthcare.

It has demonstrated the shortcomings of our health systems, causing enormous disruptions, delays and challenges in ensuring continuity of care for patients with existing conditions. Those with conditions where prevention and timing are crucial, such as cancer, have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with patients often struggling to access safe and quality procedures throughout the whole care pathway. Under the current circumstances, many have refrained from screening due to fear of infection, meaning early detection is no longer to their advantage. Thus, it is now more important than ever to work at both EU and national levels to ensure minimum disruption to the treatment and lives of patients suffering from conditions such as breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in EU countries, with more than 400,000 cases diagnosed in 2018. It is also the main fatal cancer among women, as European women have a one in eight chance of developing the disease.