Doctors and experts at the 5th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-5) have called that patients should have speedy access to the latest treatments and advances made in the field. Doctors and patient groups said that women in Europe are not getting proper access to new drugs like Herceptin that could help prolong their survival and well being.
Recent advances in reconstructive surgery and radiation therapy are available to women in the United States far more easily than their European counterparts. "Action needs to be taken so that women in different countries have equal and quick access to new and better treatments and procedures. It is regrettable that so many women are still not receiving the treatment that gives them the best chance of survival and best quality of life," said Dr Alberto Costa, President of the EBCC-5 conference. The feasibility of intra-operative radio- therapy was demonstrated by Italian and English studies last year. It was shown that delivering the radiation directly to the breast during open surgery is equivalent to six weeks of external radiotherapy and could result in minimal radiation exposure. . However, there are only a few centers across Europe that can carry out intra-operative radiotherapy and consequently patients are deprived of this new advance. Even reconstructive surgery techniques are way behind those in the US. The EMEA (European Medicines Agency) has licensed Herceptin for use in advanced stage breast cancer, but recent studies showcase its benefits in early breast cancer as well.
Contact: EBCC-5 Press Office
Federation of European Cancer Societies