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The month of October is international breast cancer awareness month. In this context, yesterday Wednesday 14 October, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the Breast International Group (BIG against breast cancer) organised a webinar on breast cancer addressed to the general public.

The purpose of the webinar, which counted 169 participants from different countries, was to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of international academic research. 

The main topic of the session focussed on the growing importance of treatment de-escalation to improve breast cancer patients’ quality of life by avoiding unnecessary over-treatment. Breast cancer experts from the EORTC and BIG networks gave examples of de-escalation clinical trials and explained how they may help breast cancer patients by safely reducing treatment burden. A patient advocate from Europa Donna also gave her perspective on this topic. 

If you missed the webinar, you can listen to the recording here: https://vimeo.com/468135409/b658b1e332

The session included the following presentations:

• Brief introduction on global breast cancer research and de-escalation of breast cancer treatments – By Prof. Etienne Brain, EORTC Breast Cancer Group Chair & BIG Executive Board member (Brussels, Belgium)

• Brief presentation of DESCRESCENDO study and introduction of the speakers – By Prof. David Cameron, BIG Chair and EORTC Breast Cancer Group member (Edinburgh, UK)

• Tailoring radio therapy after surgery to an individual patient’s risk of recurrence (EXPERT study – BIG Radio Tuning). Tailoring radiation dose escalation after surgery: cosmetic results and patient reported outcomes informing treatment decision-making (DCIS study) – By Prof. Boon Chua, BIG Executive Board member & Study Principal Investigator of EXPERT and DCIS (Sydney, Australia)

• Using the biological characteristics of a tumour and novel diagnostic tests to help safely exclude chemotherapy (MINDACT study) – By Prof. Fatima Cardoso, EORTC Breast Cancer Group and BIG member & Study Principal Investigator of MINDACT

• Getting the patient’s perspective: Importance of giving patients the right information about de-escalation risks – By Mrs Elizabeth Bergsten Nordstrom, EUROPA DONNA Executive Board member

During the session, participants - who were a mix of breast cancer patients, advocates, family members, students, researchers and breast cancer specialists - were also invited to ask the speakers any questions they had, allowing for a true learning and sharing experience.

BIG and EORTC teams would like to thank the speakers and all participants for this interesting session!