Thanks to a trailblazing campaign focusing on metastatic breast cancer – The Cancer Currency – Europa Donna, the European Breast Cancer Coalition, and VML Health have helped ensure, for the first time, specific recognition and funding for metastatic cancer within Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is incurable and 20-30% of all breast cancer patients go on to develop MBC – in addition to the 10% who are diagnosed with MBC from the onset. Despite this prevalence, many breast cancer policies (and subsequent support, budgets and investment) focus predominantly on prevention, detection, and the early stages of the cancer.
The Cancer Currency campaign was created to prove those living with MBC still have value, and demand greater investment into the disease. The stories that drive the campaign are told using a universal language known around the world - money. Specifically, a suite of banknotes that celebrate the stories of 5 women and the years they have lived with MBC. Designed by banknote designer Brian Thompson - the man behind the current US $50 and $100 bill – the banknotes mirror the unique identifiers of other currencies and were developed using the same design craft to retain as much authenticity as possible.
The women of the campaign presented their bank notes to Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for health food and safety, at Europa Donna’s annual conference. They called for urgent action to prioritise metastatic breast cancer on the policy agenda, campaigning for 4 specific improvements in awareness, data collection, treatment access and social and psychological support. In response, Stella Kyriakides announced the first specific funding allocation for metastatic breast cancer.
Building on this initial success, Europa Donna is using The Cancer Currency campaign to call on legislators and policymakers across Europe to do more to address the disease as a health policy priority by implementing these four demands.
Although The Cancer Currency campaign showcased the immense value of 5 women, sadly one of the women, Simona Ahcin, passed away from her disease last year, and never made it to the stage. To represent her life and part in the campaign, her sister and daughter joined the 4 remaining women, delivering a poignant reminder of the importance of time and speed of action.