Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024
WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuscredit : UN Photo/ Elma Okic

Just ahead of World Cancer Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a new ‘Global Breast Cancer Initiative Framework’ on February 3rd. A roadmap aimed at achieving the goal of saving 2.5 million lives from breast cancer by 2040.

It is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide and disproportionately affects women in middle- and lower-income countries, where timely diagnosis remains a significant obstacle.

“Breast cancer survival is 50 percent or less in many middle- and low-income countries,” WHO’s Dr. Bente Mikkelsen told journalists in Geneva, as reported by UN News. She further emphasized that the survival rate is “greater than 90 percent for those able to receive the best care in high-income countries.”

According to the WHO, global inequities are explained by factors such as late diagnosis, inadequate services, and the absence of breast cancer coverage in Universal Health Coverage. Therefore, the new initiative aims to bridge the disparity and reduce global breast cancer mortality by 2.5 percent annually by 2040.

“Countries with weaker health systems are least able to manage the increasing burden of breast cancer. It places a tremendous strain on individuals, families, communities, health systems, and economies, so it must be a priority for ministries of health and governments everywhere,” the Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated.

“We have the tools and the know-how to prevent breast cancer and save lives. WHO is supporting more than 70 countries, particularly low and middle-income countries, to detect breast cancer earlier, diagnose it faster, treat it better, and give everyone with breast cancer the hope for a cancer-free future,” he added.

The roadmap encompasses three pillars: health promotion for early detection, timely diagnosis (with a target to complete evaluating, imaging, tissue sampling and pathology within 60 days) and comprehensive breast cancer management.

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