In October 2007 Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, launched Europa Donna Ireland's latest publication – Breast Cancer and Fertility. Marie Ennis, an EDI committee member, took the initiative in bringing together experts to produce a booklet designed to help younger women diagnosed with breast cancer by providing them with up-to-date information on issues such as fertility and pregnancy after cancer treatment.
It deals with how various treatments affect the reproductive system and how this impacts on individuals, allowing women to make more informed decisions about their treatment. It also outlines the parenthood options available before and after treatment. The booklet has been welcomed by breast care nurses who regularly deal with the issues raised in it, as well as by women. As Marie Ennis says in her introduction: Dealing with fertility issues on top of a diagnosis of breast cancer can feel overwhelming. Sometimes just the fact of knowing that you investigated all of your options and you did what you could at the time is very helpful to your recovery emotionally and psychologically.
The booklet is a very good example of how the personal experience of a woman with breast cancer can identify a real need and how an advocacy organisation can work with nursing and medical experts to fill that need.