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Ensuring access to quality-assured diagnosis and treatment for all breast cancer patients

The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, meeting today in Nicosia, urged member States to reduce inequalities in diagnosis, screening and treatment of breast cancer, and ensure that patients have the level of care that they are entitled to.

The report by Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), adopted by the committee, points out great disparities across and between countries. Efforts should not only relate to screening and treatments, the rapporteur said, underlining also the need to protect breast cancer patients from discrimination in employment and insurance. Breast cancer is still the most common cancer in European women and has the highest mortality of any cancer in women, the adopted text states.

During an exchange of views on this issue, Professor Philippos Patsalis, the Cypriot Minister of Health, underlined that, while the stress of the disease was increasing throughout Europe – and breast cancer was the leading cancer in women in Cyprus, as well – measures could be and were being taken to prevent these cancers, and find them as early as possible. Despite the budgetary pressures due to the economic and financial crisis in the country, large-cohort screening programmes and state-of-the-art treatment were continuing in Cyprus. Upholding the dignity of patients was also crucial: due to excellent co-operation with NGOs, appropriate psycho-social care also continued to be offered in the country.