For the past three years, Belgian company Planet Parfum has persuaded several of its brands (OPI, Estee Lauder, Sisley & Escada) to help out in the new challenge to overcome one of the worst scourges that affects women: breast cancer.
25 years ago, the first breast clinic in Belgium opened at the Jules Bordet Institute, which is still the only autonomous hospital in Belgium totally dedicated to cancer, calling on radiologists, oncologists, physiotherapists, etc. Oncological practice at the Bordet Institute is based upon a truly multidisciplinary, therapeutic approach, re-enforced by a single patient file that is used by all physicians regardless of their specialty. This file is present at all consultations and hospitalizations and collects all medical information on the patient. After establishment of the diagnosis, decisions about treatment are taken by common agreement among surgeons, radiologists and internists, based upon the most modern therapeutic techniques. It’s worth recalling that one in eight women develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. Ariane Cambier is Secretary General of the Friends of the Bordet Institute. She outlined some of the issues for us.
“The cost of researching breast cancer is enormous. The Friends of the Bordet Institute association is the institute’s largest private donor. We have been funding research programs for over 40 years, and in recent years the average was more than €2 million per annum.”
She went on to explain that there is room for optimism. “Substantial progress has been made in the last ten years, particularly with the advent of molecular biology. This year, the researchers recorded enormous advances, including a better understanding of how a tumour functions and the appearance of metastases. It also looked at very serious cases of breast cancer that occur during pregnancy, and it was discovered that their progression is different.”
And what of companies who have decided to get involved? “Action by companies such as Planet Parfum gives a very high visibility to this issue and brings the disease out of the shadows. It is important to talk about it.”