Over the last 15 years I have learned a lot about science and the psychology of breast cancer. The motivation all over the planet to eradicate this disease is impressive, however not enough has yet been done. Early detection and the successful treatment of breast cancer are essential for the survival of a breast cancer patient. Patient information and counseling are the basis for successful treatment compliance. Equally important, the doctor must be informed by the patient to understand the patient’s goals as well as any concerns, justified or otherwise. The mechanism of this communication is an understudied area of research. Miscommunication can lead to suboptimal treatment, low participation in screening or slow recruitment to clinical studies. Especially in prevention, informing women at high risk is a challenging task and might be crucial for the success of any prevention study. My expectations for EUPATI are the integration of aims that truly match the best scientific rationale and genuine patients’ hopes and needs.
More than seventy thousand women in Germany have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Worldwide, every third person will be diagnosed with cancer in the coming years, a challenge for health care professionals as well as for patients and the health care system. Therefore, we need well-informed and trained patient experts for two reasons: firstly as advisors in clinical and political advisory boards and steering committees to support cancer patients and raise their needs and secondly, as advisors because they have the adequate patient information on how to tackle and deal with cancer as a disease and the therapeutic options.