Shanghai CDC, Center establish breast health resource center

Site serves as first learning laboratory of the Center-based Breast Health Global Initiative in China
Dr. Ben Anderson
Dr. Ben Anderson, Breast Health Global Initiative chair and director, is a leading voice in the international breast cancer clinical improvement and best practices movement. Photo courtesy of the University of Washington

The Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Center-based Breast Health Global Initiative recently signed a collaboration agreement to jointly establish the Shanghai Breast Health Resource Center, BHGI’s first “learning laboratory” in China.

It marks the first such agreement between the Shanghai CDC and a U.S. cancer research center.

Through this agreement, the Shanghai CDC and its partners will work with the BHGI on projects related to cancer control and will provide a comprehensive assessment of breast cancer early detection for the population of Shanghai and the region.

Learning laboratory defines clinical elements

The first project of the Shanghai Breast Health Resource Center, organized as a BHGI learning laboratory, will evaluate the effectiveness of clinical breast exam for breast cancer early detection.

BHGI developed the concept of learning laboratories to define the essential science-based clinical elements for breast cancer care programs for low- and middle-resource countries through global collaborations.

“This agreement is an affirmation of the importance that the Hutchinson Center places upon designing programs to impact the prevention, early diagnosis and improved treatment of cancer among medically underserved people around the world,” said Center president and director Dr. Larry Corey. Last October, the Center and the China CDC signed an agreement to provide a framework for scientific research and training projects in the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, infectious diseases and other related health concerns in China.

Collaboration in the face of rising breast cancer mortality

Breast cancer mortality has nearly doubled during the past 30 years in China, according to Chinese health officials.

In Shanghai, the rate of breast cancer increased 138 percent during past 30 years, and among the newly diagnosed breast cancer cases, early stage disease accounts for about 34 percent, which is about 10 percent lower than that in U.S., according to Dr. Ying Zheng, head of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Shanghai CDC.

“Although there is not enough data from research or cancer registries nationwide, existing data suggest that the rise of China’s breast cancer mortality rate is caused mainly by the rapid increase in incidence and late stage of diagnosis,” Zheng said.

“This groundbreaking agreement enables unique research collaborations in the critical area of breast cancer, which can serve as a model for development of comprehensive cancer prevention and control and building the capacity of multidisciplinary cancer prevention and treatment in China,” said Dr. Ben Anderson, BHGI chair and director.

Linking the BHGI and other Center scientists and programs with the Shanghai CDC’s programs provides major advantages both to the U.S. and Chinese research communities by defining resource-appropriate solutions for breast cancer care programs for China, according to Anderson, who is a researcher in the Public Health Sciences Division and director of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s Breast Health Clinic.

This isn’t the first time that Center research has focused on breast cancer in Shanghai. The results of a 12-year-long, landmark study among 267,000 female textile workers, published in 2003, found that women who received intensive instruction in breast self-exam suffered no fewer deaths from breast cancer than women who did not. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. David Thomas of PHS, is a senior adviser to the BHGI.

BHGI, co-sponsored by the Center and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, pioneered development of comprehensive resource-sensitive, evidence based clinical guidelines for international breast health and cancer control to improve breast cancer outcomes in low- and middle-resource countries through the collaboration of an alliance of dedicated organizations and individuals.

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