New guide for breast health worldwide

Breast Health Global Initiative, based at the Hutchinson Center, issues guidelines for developing countries implementing breast-cancer programs
Dr. Ben Anderson and Leslie Sullivan
Dr. Ben Anderson and Leslie Sullivan of the Breast Health Global Initiative photo by Dean Forbes

The first guidelines for low- and middle-income countries to implement breast cancer programs will be published in a special supplement of the Oct. 15 issue of the journal Cancer. The guidelines were developed by the Hutchinson Center-based Breast Health Global Initiative, directed by Dr. Ben Anderson.

“Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control–Implementation” outlines a tiered system of resource allocation—based on a country’s overall economic status and availability of resources—toward early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

“The breast health guidelines for implementation will be an essential medical reference for low- and middle-income countries to improve breast health outcomes,” Anderson said. BHGI, an alliance of internationally focused health care organizations, was founded by the Center and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Breast cancer comprises 23 percent of all female cancers and is the leading cause of cancer death. There is a marked geographical variation in fatality rates, which are highest in developing countries and lowest in developed ones. Women in poor- and middle-income nations generally are diagnosed when their cancer has progressed due to lack of resources to detect cancer earlier, resulting in increased death rates.

 “The BHGI guidelines are intended to assist ministers of health, policymakers, administrators and institutions in prioritizing resource allocation as breast cancer treatment programs are implemented and developed in their resource-constrained countries,” the authors note in their overview of the 172-page supplement. The 16 articles by 56 authors from around the world are the culmination of work begun in 2002 when the first of three global summits on breast health took place.

The guidelines are available online:

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