Founded to spread the word about good care and treatment for Breast Cancer across Europe, the organisation has now spread right across the Continent and into neighbouring countries -from Albania to Uzbekistan: over 40 and increasing/
Their events are always interesting: this is where one can go to meet the top “breast cancer” brains, with no country barriers. Members are only concerned with what is best for care, and talking to their officers is a refreshing change from the UK docs looking down their noses at me! when I mentioned I had heard about certain treatment in another country,
ED UK (Europa Donne in Britain)’s role is to share best practice internationally, and I have been to some fascinating meetings where this has been done.As they told me, Initially, ED UK led a small international committee of women who were determined to get Europa Donna on the road and to promote, awareness of the best of UK’s and others’ advanced breast cancer programmes around Europe. This way they were able to begin to provide women whose countries offer less well developed services, with information about the best in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, care, research. By doing so, ED are able to stimulate formation of national campaigns and encourage women to become active and involved in advocating for the best possible services.
For an annual fee of £10, one gets a fantastic return. My first year, they sent me to their HQ in Milan, where we had a three-day course (free) of lectures from experts from a multitude of countries. I well remember the first speaker was an eminent and exuberant Professor from Italy, who had us in stitches – and all in perfect English! But his message about treatment got across, and I carried it back to the UK with me.
My new-found friends from Slovenia, Denmark and many other countries returned to their homes, and their local hospitals put them on committees, asked them to talk to their doctors, and made them advocates for other cancer patients.
In Britain? No interest whatsoever – the hospital where I was treated didn’t want to know what was happening in Europe, or furthering their knowledge. Yet the World Health Organisation says Britain has one of the worst post-cancer survival rates in Europe.
But ED goes on, and I stilll meet up with a club of interested cross-European breast cancer fellow patients. I well remember a heated discussion about pros and cons of mammograms (and did wonder if ED was going to supply pink boxing gloves, the speakers were so passionate about their views). Fascinating!
20th Annversary Meeting
The 20th Anniversary met at London’s Medical Society – apparently the oldest such society in the world.
Prof Smith came out with interesting facts about Tamoxifen,; it’s always fun to listen to him as he has so many anecdotes. And Gloria Freilich, ED’s Founding President, was there with her welcome, and introducing me to so many interesting members.
That’s what I like about ED – the way it mixes fascinating business with pleasure. I always learn something useful, and can really recommend it as a “club” which is there to help. If you want more information, phone me on 020-7584-4555, and ask questions?
If you want to join contact europadonna.org