Global Key Messages

  • National breast cancer control programs can be developed and implemented at all resource levels.

  • Successful breast cancer programs offer women with breast cancer the best possible outcomes while effectively using available resources.

  • Breast cancer care is most successful when prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and palliation are integrated and synchronously developed.

The Facts

  • Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women worldwide, affecting over 1.5 million women each year.
  • Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear an increasing and disproportionate share of the disease burden.
  • Women in low-resource settings commonly present to a healthcare facility with advanced breast cancer and have a poor prognosis (as low as 15% overall 5-year survival in some regions) and poor quality of life.

Meeting the Challenge

  • Program design and improvements should be based on identified needs and barriers, outcome goals and available resources.
  • Breast cancer programs should follow a defined resource stratified pathway to ensure coordinated incremental program improvements across the continuum of care.
  • Comprehensive breast cancer control planning is a long-term process that requires acknowledgement that changes in population-based outcomes can take years to realize. Pilot projects, research studies and quality assurance programs that use short- and long-term process metrics can help inform future program direction.

Key Tools

Breast Health Global Initiative, National Cancer Institute, UICC and PAHO have developed a series of 16 brief publications, called Breast Cancer Knowledge Summaries.

The Knowledge Summaries for breast cancer control provide resource-stratified pathways to facilitate decision making by policy makers, healthcare administrators and advocates engaged in implementing breast cancer control programs at various resource levels. The Knowledge Summaries emphasize coordinated, incremental program improvements across the continuum of care to achieve the best possible outcomes at each resource level. The sixteen Knowledge Summaries for breast cancer control address planning, prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, palliative care and policy and advocacy.

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