Breast Health Global Initiative



The Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) strives to develop, implement and study evidence-based, economically feasible, and culturally appropriate Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control for low- and middle-income countries (LMCs) to improve breast health outcomes and access to breast cancer screening, detection and treatment for women.

Who We Are

  • BHGI, founded and led by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Susan G. Komen®, was created as an innovative alliance and network of individuals, regional, national, and world health organizations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations, who share a dedication to improving breast health care and cancer treatment for women in economically disadvantaged countries.
  • Begun in 2002 with the premise of defining best practices with limited resources, our mission is to create consensus guidelines for early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and health care systems and public policy.
  • Through the BHGI global alliance, and guidelines development, public health research and international implementation and pilot projects are aimed to validate and operationalize the guidelines.


The global challenge of breast cancer extends beyond the capacity of any one partner or sector to address. Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer related death for women worldwide. Breast cancer lethality is highest among economically disadvantaged countries. While major progress has been made to improve breast cancer outcomes in developed countries, resource constraints limit the application of early detection, diagnosis and treatment strategies in most of the world.

Economically disadvantaged countries lack the financial resources to implement optimal breast health care programs. As a result, breast care guidelines from economically privileged regions such as the U.S. and Western Europe have limited utility in low-level or mid-level resource countries. Instead, these countries need to implement breast cancer control programs that are appropriate for their country's resources and competing health care needs. Evidence-based guidelines can define strategies by which economically practical incremental improvements can be sequentially introduced within the context of resource constraints to create measurable improvements in health care administration and outcome.

Program Description

  • The BHGI alliance of leading world health organizations, associations, government agencies, key opinion leaders and experts develop, implement and study evidence-based, economically feasible, and culturally appropriate Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control for medium- and low-level resource regions to improve breast health outcomes for medically underserved women.
  • The Guidelines serve as a fundamental medical tool for use in countries where access to healthcare is challenged, breast cancer awareness is limited and cultural barriers need to be overcome. Via the internet, the Guidelines are freely available, and publicized and disseminated through world health and medical organizations, international government agencies, Ministers of Health (MOH), and patient advocate groups.
  • The "Global Summit on International Breast Health Care," is the BHGI biennial working meeting which serves as the foundation for review and expansion of the Guidelines. The next Global Summit is scheduled in Fall 2018.


  • Published guidelines that serve as fundamental medical tool oriented to resource-constrained regions for "best practices with limited resources" made freely available via the internet
  • International Research: Implementation Pilot Projects linked to the guidelines, BHGI interests and projects.