Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-027"

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". Madam President, Commissioner Špidla, Commissioner Kyprianou, ladies and gentlemen, first of all I would like to thank the chairmen of the three committees, Mrs Záborská, Mr Florenz and Mr Andersson, most warmly for their fantastic cooperation in preparing this debate. I would also like to thank you, Madam President. Breast cancer was on the agenda three years ago, and it is now time to take an initial look at the results, which appears to be urgently necessary. In the 25 Member States, 275 000 women contract breast cancer every year. The risk of dying from it is twice as high in one Member State as in another. To make it worse, younger and younger women are contracting the disease: just in the last few years, the number of women under 40 affected has doubled. Breast cancer is still the number one cause of death in women between 35 and 55. However, I am also shocked at how radical treatment still is in many Member States. In some countries, mastectomies are still the rule rather than the exception, even in the very early stages of the disease, even though in 80% of cases these days it is possible to operate without removing the breast. As you can see, then, we are progressing at a snail's pace. This is particularly true in the new Member States, where the missed opportunities and deficiencies throughout the chain of care are at their worst. However, at least in the old Member States, the fact that the structures remain, as before, inadequate to catastrophic has less to do with public budget problems than with the economic and class interests of the doctors. Let us begin with early detection: the development of an across-the-board breast screening programme according to EU guidelines will involve a one-off cost for the public purse of no more than EUR 1.25 per citizen. I am therefore sure that nobody in this House wants to claim that this money is not available. If we had an EU-wide breast screening programme, we could save the lives of 31 000 women in the EU a year, help to reduce healthcare costs and substantially reduce subsequent costs for the whole of society. To date, though, only 11 countries have a quality-assured screening programme, and these programmes are a long way from being continuous. In your country, too, Mr Špidla, you must put a stop to the practice of passing off opportunistic screening as EU screening. In Cyprus, too, Mr Kyprianou, progress is still very sluggish. Now we know, of course, that you are both on our side, but it would nonetheless have been nice to have the Commission's progress report now, instead of in the Spring, which is when it is expected. We also call on you to put greater emphasis on the option of using money from the Structural Funds to develop a screening programme. However, even the best early detection system is of no use if subsequent treatment is inadequate or inappropriate. Time and again, breast cancer is operated on and treated in hospitals with barely any experience. I would therefore specifically like to thank the Commission for the EU guidelines for breast centres, which we have received from you since last year. The ball is now in the Member States' court, though, because the only place in the whole of the EU with such centres at the moment is – amazingly – the United Kingdom. That is why we will also call today, in our joint resolution, for the Member States to establish sufficient breast centres nationwide by 2016. This is absolutely feasible by 2016. We would need around 1 800 such centres EU-wide. Then all women would have the opportunity to get the same optimum treatment, regardless of where they live. In order to ensure that these breast centres actually work in accordance with the EU criteria, that they really do perform a minimum number of operations on primary breast cancer, namely 150 a year in a single centre, that the specialists really have specialised exclusively in benign and malignant breast diseases and that they really do carry out interdisciplinary consultations before and after the operation for each case of breast cancer, we now also need guidelines for the certification of breast centres. In this connection, we would call on you in the Commission to embark on drafting these guidelines with real speed. We would also ask you to draw up guidelines for the job description of breast nurses, who have a very important role to play in these centres, as guides and mediators between doctors and patients throughout the treatment process."@en1

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