Think Pink Europe tackles the health care gap
8 February 2019
Think Pink Europe tackles the health care gap

In the face of breast cancer, we might believe that we are all equal. Regardless our nationality, religion, or economic status, we tend to think that we are equally vulnerable when it comes to cancer. Nevertheless, chances of survival for women affected by breast cancer differ considerably depending on their country of residence. In spite of efforts to improve prevention and early diagnosis in Europe, the health care gap remains a painful reality among women in Europe when access to high quality health care is concerned.

For 2018, breast cancer remains the most lethal cancer on a global scale with over 626,000 breast cancer deaths. Last year, no less than 150,700 women in Europe died due to breast cancer.

A multidisciplinary approach can save lives

When taking a closer look at the numbers for the European continent, it seems that not all women have the same chances facing the disease. Indeed, research shows that chances of survival depend on the country of residence too. A woman in Romania has over 25 % less chance to survive breast cancer than a woman in Belgium. The breast cancer survival rate in Romania is at 63.9 % (2016), while the rate for Belgium reaches 90.4 % (2016).

In 2012, it was demonstrated in Scotland that the introduction of a multidisciplinary approach has lowered the mortality by 18 %. A result confirmed over the years as survival rate has increased where the approach is implemented.

The multidisciplinary approach requires specialists from different fields to work together structurally to decide on the best treatment possible, looking at it from their respective angles, while putting the survivor at the heart of the decision making process. As it is in fact an operational change that does not require any material investments, it should be fairly easy to implement. However, too few countries actually implement this method as standardised guidelines and operations lack, which adds to disparities in access to health care in Europe.

A key to close the health care gap

Think Pink Europe aims at being an active actor to close the health care gap by having its members join forces. The organisation underlines that the health care quality must meet the same levels in all countries and that exchanging best practices must be a standard. Breast clinics and a multidisciplinary team approach, for example, are not customary in many countries, even though they have proven their efficacy and benefits for breast cancer patients proficiently.

Think Pink Europe truly believes that a strong European cooperation is key to closing the health care gap in Europe. The organisation works actively on a European level to raise awareness and promote equal access to high quality health care for all.