08 Aug 2014

How are breast cancer care services organised in Europe?

Cancer word in word cloud.
A European Quality Assurance Scheme for Breast Cancer Services would reduce the burden of the disease and close the gaps in incidence, mortality, prevalence and survival of cancer between and within Member States.
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The JRC published a comprehensive report of breast cancer care services in Europe based on a survey which analysed the current situation in 25 countries that voluntarily participated in the study. This report is a major step towards the development of a European quality assurance scheme for breast cancer services, which is part of the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer coordinated by the JRC.

The 'Report of a European survey on the organisation of breast cancer care services' covers healthcare organisation, cancer screening, breast cancer care organisation, safety and quality, accreditation and certification schemes, competence requirements for professionals and much more.

The survey results illustrate a diversity of healthcare systems, showing that:

  • healthcare services are public in the majority of participating countries (88%);
  • independent of the respective country's healthcare system, breast cancer care services can be organised along different models (e.g. one central body or multiple collaborating entities to cover all the stages of breast cancer care); at least seven models are represented in participating countries;
  • a national, standardised education path for breast cancer specialists is available in 64% of countries for physicians and in less than 50% for nurses and paramedical staff;
  • screening programmes for breast cancer are available in 22 countries, for cervical cancer in 18 countries and for colorectal cancer in 14 countries;
  • only half of the participating countries have at least one kind of quality assurance system for breast cancer services in place (e.g. private or public, national, local or hospital-based).

The European Commission supports the development of a modular, flexible and evidence-based scheme, adaptable to the diverse healthcare organisational settings, ensuring all women in Europe get access to quality care.

Keywords: health, cancer, quality
JRC Institutes