European Cancer Organisation

European Breast Units Manifesto

European Breast Units Manifesto

This is a manifesto calling for all patients with breast cancer in Europe to be cared for only in specialist breast units. It was presented at a special session at EBCC-10 on 9 March 2016. The full document with supporting information will be circulated for consultation before formal publication.


Manifesto – call to action

  • The 2016 deadline for all patients in European Union countries to access specialist, multidisciplinary breast cancer units, or centres, will be missed by most countries, despite numerous resolutions and declarations issued since the year 2000 that have called for universal specialist services
  • This means that many women, and some men, do not receive optimal breast cancer care in Europe
  • We call on policymakers and politicians to ensure, as soon as possible, that all women and men with breast cancer in Europe are treated in a specialist breast unit
  • There is still time for a major step forward in 2016
  • To do this, we ask that policymakers and politicians, together with healthcare professionals and patient advocates:
  • Promote, in public and professional settings, the evidence that breast units staffed with specialist multidisciplinary teams deliver superior care and quality of life to women and men with breast cancer
  • Acknowledge the evidence that treatment in multidisciplinary units leads to overall cost savings as well as higher quality of care
  • Audit the current national provision of breast cancer care using accredited auditors
  • Implement mandatory reimbursement and care models that mean treatment can only be carried out in specialist breast units
  • Introduce a breast unit quality scheme that is certified by accredited bodies
  • Join European-wide scientific societies and groups that promote the availability and quality of breast units, and together commit to providing access to such units for all patients


Breast units manifesto: contents


  • History: the first EBCC demanded that all patients have access to multidisciplinary and multiprofessional breast clinics
  • Summary of evidence for better care in breast units
  • Recent calls to action leading up to 2016

Status of European breast units

  • There is wide variation in breast cancer care around Europe
  • Supporting data, including latest research on breast unit implementation conducted by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

Specialist breast unit requirements

  • Definition of a breast unit/centre and summary of main requirements as detailed by EUSOMA (European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists)

Policy and organisation, and best practice

  • Quality and certification: the cornerstone of achieving minimum standards for breast units.
  • Case study: Germany
  • Other health system models around Europe: policies for breast units in other countries



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