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Parliamentary questions
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17 May 2021
Question for written answer  E-002647/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Cindy Franssen (PPE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Recognition of breast cancer in men as a rare disease

Around 11 000 cases of breast cancer are detected each year in Belgium alone. Around 100 of these cases are found in men. They therefore represent an absolute minority of breast cancer cases.

As no distinction is generally made between breast cancer in men and women, men tend to receive the same regular treatment as women with breast cancer. However, scientific evidence(1) shows that there are substantial differences in the type of breast cancer afflicting women and men respectively. According to an ‘International Male Breast Cancer Programme’ study, one-third of the men concerned do not receive adequate treatment(2). Scientific research and clinical trials specifically relating to breast cancer in men have been negligible. Recognising breast cancer as a rare disease in men can facilitate research and ensure optimal treatment.

Does the Commission agree that breast cancer in men should be officially recognised as a rare illness, given its low incidence and differences with breast cancer in women?

Is the Commission already supporting research or clinical trials relating specifically to breast cancer in men?

In implementing Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, will it seek to help raise awareness of breast cancer amongst men and promote the treatment of this rare disease?

(1)Male Breast Cancer Patients Face High Prevalence of CV Disease Risk Factors, 25 January 2021 (www.acc.org). Ravandi-Karshani & Hayes wrote in 1998 that: 'Male breast cancer has biological differences compared with female breast cancer' (Ravandi-Karshani & Hayes, Male Breast Cancer, European Journal of Cancer, 1998, 34, 9, pp. 1341-1347).
Original language of question: NL
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