Italian EFDD member Daniela Aiuto, who is preparing a Parliament report on the issue, said there were still many obstacles remaining. "In Italian families, if the mother or wife wants to get a mammography regularly, at least every six months, she will have to pay up to €1,000 per year," she said. "Not all Italian families can afford these expenses nowadays. What does it mean? It means that many women at risk of developing cancer give up prevention. It is here that we must act."
Aiuto also highlighted the differences in prevention and treatment in different EU countries, saying women in northern Europea have more possibilities to have breast cancer diagnosed earlier and that this should be the same in all countries.
Although breast cancer can also develop in men, women are about 100 times more likely to be struck by it. In 2013 about 93,500 people died of breast cancer in the EU, 99% of which were women. Deaths as a result of breast cancer make up of about 7.2% of all cancer-related deaths.
How the European Parliament is helping
Over the years MEPs have raised awarreness of the issue in various ways, for example by adopting resolutions on breast cancer in 2003 and 2006.
In 2010 MEPs adopted a declaration to underline their support for the EU's commitment to fight breast cancer, by ensuring the implementation of screening programmes, the creation of specialist breast units and reliable data collection.
In 2015 MEPs adopted a written declaration on breast cancer in the EU, calling for the implementation of measures to fight this disease.
Earlier this month on 16 October the Parliament organised a hearing on the EU's strategy to help women affected by cancer, which took a look at the current state of prevention, diagnosis and treatment and assessed the EU's measures in this area.