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Queen Mathilde celebrates the 20th anniversary of The Breast International Group

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians was present at the 20th anniversary of the Breast International Group (BIG) on Monday, 17 October 2016 at the City Hall in Brussels. This event aimed to bring together breast cancer specialists from around the world to conduct research in a structured way.

Her Majesty, who is the Honorary President of the group, made a speech to the specialists present in English, Dutch and French. In her address, Queen Mathilde highlighted the fact that breast cancer kills three times more people than road accidents. The Queen praised the collective effort of researchers, surgeons, oncologists and radiologists in the development of modern therapies, stating that “the collaboration between these various disciplines undeniably favours a personalised treatment.”

While 1.7 million women across the globe are affected by the condition each year, the Queen also reminded those present that, although less discussed, 15,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Her Majesty also drew attention to the fact that the latest statistics show that nearly thirty new cases are diagnosed in Belgium every day. The passionate advocate, however, was quick to point out that there is not only a single, general type of breast cancer but that it manifests itself through multiple symptoms in different patients, therefore requiring particular treatment in each one. Queen Mathilde also expressed the necessity for psychological support for those combatting the disease.

BIG is an international non-profit organisation for academic breast cancer research groups from around the world. Founded in 1966, the organisation, whose headquarters are at the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels, sees its research undertaken at the international level by stimulating cooperation between its 56 member groups and other academic networks. With links to over 3,000 hospitals across the globe, BIG is the largest international network dedicated solely to breast cancer and aims to one day eliminate the cruel disease fully.