Breast Cancer: General Information
Breast Cancer Now
Formerly Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Campaign and Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Now has useful explanations of the biology of breast cancer and information on other aspects of the disease and its treatment
National Cancer Registry Ireland
The National Cancer Registry collects statistics on Incidence, Mortality, Treatment and Survival for different cancers and publishes annual reports, with the most up-to-date statistics. The NCRI has also produces joint statistics with Northern Ireland and carries out research, which is published, and can be downloaded from the website.
Breast Cancer Now
The What causes breast cancer? leaflet lists established, possible and doubtful risk factors. This can be downloaded from the Breast Cancer Now website.
Diagnosis and Treatment
BreastCheck is the national breast screening programme which currently screens women every 2 years between the ages of 50 and 67. The BreastCheck website has information on breast screening.
For the BreastCheck Women’s Charter, see www.breastcheck.ie/
The European Commission made a recommendation in 2003 that all member states provide breast screening services for women aged between 50 and 69 (as well as colo-rectal and cervical screening). For progress and information on the situation in member states, see: Cancer screening in the EU: report on the implementation of the Council recommendation on cancer screening (2008)
Diagnosis and treatment carried out according to best practice standards have been shown to result in significantly higher survival rates. EDI has two publications relevant to standards:
Irish Breast Cancer Charter
Irish Breast Cancer Charter Sets down 23 principles which specialist breast centres across the country should meet. The Charter is the result of discussion by over 150 women at Europa Donna Ireland's 1st National Conference held in May 2006 and is designed to give women in Ireland standards by which to measure services.
Specialist Breast Centres
Specialist Breast Centres Explains why it is important for women with breast problems to attend a specialist centre, what they are, the service they provide and where they are.
National Quality Assurance Standards for Symptomatic Breast Disease May 2007
These standards form the basis for the development of Specialist Breast Centres in Ireland and will be used by HIQA to accreditate the centres.
Short Guide to the European Guidelines (EUROPA DONNA, October 2007).
A copy can be downloaded from the ED website www.europadonna.org
The European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis. 4th edition (European Commission, 2006) set European standards for mammography screening, diagnosis and specialist breast units.
Research & Clinical Trials
Controlled clinical trials are the safest way to evaluate new medicines and procedures that may be valuable in predicting and treating breast cancer. It may be of benefit to a woman with breast cancer to be part of a clinical trial that is relevant to her particular diagnosis and circumstances. EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition publishes booklets Clinical Trials and Breast Cancer, Advocates Guide to Understanding Breast Cancer Research, and Exploring the Role of Advocates in Breast Cancer Research. These can be read on or downloaded from the ED website www.europadonna.org/research .
Biobank Ireland Trust
Biobanks aid research by maintaining ‘banks’ of tumour tissue to be used in research and nowadays you may be asked to give permission for use of your tissue before you have an operation. Biobank Ireland is an Irish biobanking project and the site explains the project.
The sites listed in the General Information section above have relevant information. Also see:
- The Irish Cancer Society has information for younger women at www.cancer.ie/
There are some organisations which deal specifically with younger women and breast cancer:
Breast Cancer and Fertility, published by EDI in 2007, covers the topic in an Irish context. It has been prepared by health care professionals with specialist knowledge in the area of breast cancer and fertility, but may now be somewhat out-of-date.
- Fertile Hope www.fertilehope.org