SEATTLE, WashingtonIn 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.