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Reducing Breast Cancer Mortality in Poorer Countries

Reducing Breast Cancer Mortality in Poorer Countries

SEATTLE, Washington—In a new endeavor, an international group of experts
is creating detailed guidelines for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment
of breast cancer in countries and regions of the world with limited
resources. The endeavor began with the Global Summit Consensus Conference and
will lead to the publication, dissemination, and translation of the first
edition of the guidelines next year.

"There has been a great deal of research defining how to do breast care
when resources are without limit," said conference chair Benjamin O.
Anderson, MD. "As a result, we know a lot about the disease and can make a
very significant impact on it when we have the resources. What has never been
done is sorting out, at a basic level, what to do when you don’t have those
resources."

Dr. Anderson, associate professor of surgical oncology at the University
of Washington Medical Center, and clinical medical director of the University
of Washington’s Breast Care and Cancer Research Program, credits other groups
and organizations, such as the World Health Organization, with laying the
critical groundwork on which the guidelines will build.

More than 40 breast care and breast cancer experts from 16 countries
participated in the conference, which was jointly sponsored by the University
of Washington, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation, the World Society for Breast Health, and the
International Society for Breast Pathology.

Breast cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the leading
cause of cancer-related death among women, Dr. Anderson told ONI in an
interview. Women living in limited-resource countries have a lower incidence
of breast cancer but poorer survival, compared with women living in countries
with higher resource levels.

"The leading cause of higher breast cancer mortality appears to be
diagnosis at more advanced stages combined with limited access to treatment,"
he said.

Sobering Statistics

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