FLORENCE, ItalyA mass voting session at the First European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-1) has generated the first pan-European consensus statement on breast cancer research, treatment, and quality of care.
The consensus statement reflects the views of nearly 1,000 clinicians, researchers, and breast cancer activists representing the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Breast Cancer Cooperative Group (EORTC-BCCG); European Society of Mastology (EUSOMA); and Europa Donna, the European Breast Cancer Coalition.
While reaffirming their commitment to maximum participation in clinical trials, EBCC-1 delegates urged full involvement of consumers in the design and conduct of such studies. According to the Florence statement, consumer involvement can be achieved through clear public information, discussions with ethics committees, and increased accessibility to clinical trials.
High on the agenda was turning up the pressure on governments, medical charities, and the health care industry to invest more in breast cancer research. Conference participants also advised funding bodies to better coordinate their efforts in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of research programs in different countries.
The EBCC-1 delegates were cautious in their approach to genetic testing, contending that because management options for mutation carriers are of unproven benefit, testing should be restricted to the clinical research context. They demanded legislation to protect women against invasion of privacy, commercial exploitation through gene patenting, and potential discrimination.
Additional calls for action included the establishment of fully equipped multidis-ciplinary breast clinics designed to serve populations of approximately 250,000.
Acknowledging the disparities in health care delivery across Europe, the consensus framers also advocated the creation of mandatory quality assurance programs for surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, as well as the development of national and international evidence-based management guidelines.
Measurement of psychosocial status, according to the consensus statement, should move beyond the clinical trial setting and become an integral part of womens health assessment and management.
In the political arena, the statement called on the European parliament to devote a plenary session to breast cancer.