- In a bid to eradicate breast cancer among women worldwide, Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) along with Ghana Breast Cancer Alliance have detailed a course of action for low and middle-income countries on how to better detect and treat this disease.
According to a special supplement journal on cancer control issued by BHGI today, a tiered system of resource allocation, based on countries' overall economic status and availability of resources toward early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and developing an overall breast health programme has been sketched out.
"Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control - Implementation" developed by BHGI outlines other papers contained in supplement on how countries can implement programmes in breast pathology, radiation treatment, surgery and treatment of locally-advanced cancer," supplement states.
Founder, chair and director of Seattle-based BHGI organisation Dr Benjamin O. Anderson says breast health guidelines for implementation are an essential medical reference for low- and middle-income countries to improve breast health outcomes.
"BHGI guidelines are intended to assist ministers of health, policymakers, administrators and institutions in prioritising resource allocation as breast cancer treatment programmes are implemented and developed in their resource-constrained countries," 172 page report says.
The 16 articles by 56 authors from around world are culmination of work begun in 2002 when first of three global summits on breast health took place.
"Development and implementation of these international evidence-based breast health care guidelines, which are oriented to countries or regions of world with limited financial resources, is a crucial step toward improving breast health care and breast cancer care in these regions," Dr Anderson said.
He added that current evidence about value of earlier detection and cost-effective diagnosis and treatment can be applied to define best practices with limited resources for breast health care.
"While health care strategies may differ, measurable improvement in breast cancer outcomes can be achieved using best standard of care that is practical in a given setting," he noted.
Report shows that breast cancer comprises 23% of all female cancers, adding that it's also leading cause of cancer mortality.
It further notes that there is a marked geographical variation in case of 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 morbidity and mortality," report states.
BHGI, an alliance comprised of a strategic mix of internationally-focused health care organisations, was founded by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
It recently launched a five-year plan to achieve guideline implementation. It focuses on three key areas: dissemination & implementation (D&I) research; education and training programmes; and technology application and development.
According to supplement, foundation of plan will be creation of "learning laboratories" in-country locations in which to test programmes that will form the basis for breast health programmes expansion in low-to-middle-income countries.
It further shows that BHGI is working with partner organisations, Komen for Cure, HopeXchange, and Ghana Breast Cancer Alliance, to open first learning laboratory in Kumasi, Ghana this year, with a second learning laboratory planned for South America in 2009.
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