Photo by Dean Forbes
A landmark publication from the Breast Health Global Initiative’s 2010 global summit reveals a multitude of barriers that keep women of developing nations from receiving screening and treatment for breast cancer. The authors—17 breast cancer experts from 12 countries—also identify common strategies and detail models of new programs that can improve and optimize breast health care and cancer treatment in such settings.
Published as a supplement to the April 1 edition of The Breast, “Global Breast Health Care: Optimizing Delivery in Low- and Middle-Resource Countries” compiles three consensus statements and 11 research papers based on projects and proposals from the BHGI’s Global Summit on International Breast Health held last June in Chicago.
Insights into issues facing low-resource countries
The supplement contains the first global consensus report on breast cancer in low- resource countries. The report identifies problems common to low-resource countries by addressing key questions about breast cancer awareness, diagnosis and treatment in this economically constrained global community.
Challenges in low-resource countries include:
- Lack of public awareness and misconceptions about breast cancer
- Lack of pathology services to establish hormone status of tumors
- Treatment options limited by availability of equipment and drugs
- Lack of health professional training
- Need for supportive care services (such as side-effect treatment, palliative care and end-of-life care).
Longtime BHGI goal
The BHGI is an alliance of international partnering organizations dedicated to medically underserved women. The summit brought together more than 150 experts from partner organizations in 43 countries.
The Hutchinson Center’s Dr. Benjamin Anderson, BHGI chair and director and co-chair of the summit, said the publication of breast cancer studies from low- and middle-resource countries that are easily accessible has been a longtime goal of the organization.
“These papers collectively provide insight into the societal norms, economic challenges and public policy issues of the low- and middle-resource countries,” said Anderson, of the Center’s Public Health Sciences Division and professor of surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
The supplement also includes studies conducted in regions rarely researched in this context—Kashmir and Gaza Strip and new studies from Nigeria, Malaysia and Mexico. An executive summary of the consensus statements was published simultaneously in the April 1 edition of The Lancet Oncology.
[Adapted from a Hutchinson Center news release]