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European Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis - the European Breast Guidelines

Policy context The Written Declaration of the European Parliament on the fight against breast cancer in the European Union (0017-2015) states that in order to reduce the breast cancer mortality rate, it is important to implement nationwide mammography screening programmes and provide comprehensive breast cancer care, as called for in the European Parliament resolutions of 2003 and 2006 and foreseen to be facilitated by the development of the European guidelines for breast cancer screening and diagnosis (European Breast Guidelines) and the European quality assurance scheme for breast cancer services (European QA Scheme). This report intends to inform stakeholders, policy makers in particular, about the methods used and outcomes delivered in the European Breast Guidelines within the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC). As a result of a complex process, involving a wide range of experts and patients, evidence-based recommendations on screening and diagnosis are being formulated to support the countries in defining relevant policies and strategies. Key conclusions The major impact of the European Breast Guidelines on EU policy is foreseen in the screening area, possible leading to updating needs for the Council Recommendations of 2003 on cancer screening. Screening is a population based intervention and, for instance, screening recommendations concerning the different age-ranges of women to be invited/covered by screening and/or the different techniques to be used may have a great impact on health policies across the EU, and beyond. The recommendations related to diagnosis, where costly investments may or may not be required will be of interest to policy makers, as well. In addition, the development of European Breast Guidelines will also contribute to several EU initiatives, summarised in the following figure.