The World Health Organization today launches an important new collaboration, the Global Breast Cancer Initiative, with the aim of reducing global breast cancer mortality by 25% per year by 2040, thereby averting an estimated 2.5 million deaths in recognition of International Women’s Day WHO organized an advocacy event on “Hearing the Call of Women With Breast Cancer” to introduce the new initiative to the global cancer community

“Although we have made significant strides in reducing breast cancer mortality in many high-income countries over the past two decades, little progress has been made in low and middle-income countries,” said Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of the Division of NCDs at WHO “The higher mortality rates in these lower-income countries are due to late-stage diagnosis and inadequate access to quality care. Together we can address this unacceptable inequality”

Breast cancer survival five years after diagnosis is over 80% in most high-income countries, compared with 66% in India and only 40% in South Africa The premature deaths and high expenses that arise when breast cancer services fail available or unaffordable lead to social disruption, impoverishment, family instability and orphaned children, and also threaten economic growth
The importance of addressing this situation has become all the more urgent as breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most diagnosed cancer, accounting for one in six cancer deaths in women, according to statistics published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in December 2020

The establishment of the WHO’s new global breast cancer initiative follows a steady escalation in the recognition of breast cancer as a public health priority over the past few decades. As part of the initiative, WHO, in collaboration with other UN agencies and partner organizations, is providing governments with guidelines on strengthening of systems for the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, which in turn should lead to an improvement in the capacity to treat other cancers

“The initiative will bring together global partners, experts and other organizations to map existing activities, develop roadmaps and set up multisectoral working groups to deal with health promotion and early diagnosis, early breast cancer diagnosis and comprehensive and supportive breast cancer care,” said Nursing Dr Ben Anderson and led work on the new initiative at WHO “The demand for a global approach that brings together the best breast cancer expertise from around the world is high and so is the excitement about what can be achieved”

Health promotion, the first pillar, includes educating the public about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, risk reduction strategies (e.g. B. Avoiding Obesity, Limiting Alcohol Consumption, and Promoting Breastfeeding) and Reducing the Stigma Associated with Existing Breast Health in Some Parts of the World

Timely breast cancer diagnosis should reduce the delays between a patient’s first interaction with the healthcare system and starting breast cancer treatment. Although breast tumors do not change in days or weeks, cancer survival rates begin to erode when the delays in initiating treatment are more than Current delays in some settings and in certain vulnerable populations can be more than a year. Basic diagnostic services are possible in all settings, provided they are well organized and result in a timely referral for specialist care

Comprehensive treatment and care for breast cancer treatment should include access to surgery, chemotherapy and / or radiation therapy, as well as post-treatment rehabilitation support for women and palliative care to reduce pain and discomfort

An evidence-based technical package, linked to online learning platforms and other types of support, will be made available to countries and will be rolled out over the next year. The package will leverage existing WHO cancer tools and products to provide an integrated approach for all Promote cancers and strengthen health systems more generally

For example, the “Technical Specifications for Radiation Therapy Devices” jointly published this month by WHO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Guidelines for Radiation Therapy Equipment Acquisition and Use This publication, developed for the Cervical Cancer Eradication Initiative , will also underpin the success of the global breast cancer initiative According to a 2019 WHO survey [1], radiation therapy is only available in 16% of low-income countries

The commitment of countries, including the participation of non-governmental organizations and contributions from people who know what it is like to live with breast cancer, will be essential to ensure that the efforts made under the new initiative are in Ongoing cancer initiatives and being integrated into these approaches are adapted to specific country situations

“As a breast cancer survivor and advocate, I am excited about the potential of the WHO’s new global breast cancer initiative to breathe new life into efforts to prevent and treat breast cancer and ultimately improve the lives of many thousands of women around the world,” said Bertha Aguilar of the MILC Foundation in Mexico and Secretary of the General Assembly of the ABC Global Alliance

The new global breast cancer initiative complements other WHO cancer efforts, the Global Childhood Cancer Initiative launched in 2018, and the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Eradication of Cervical Cancer launched in 2020

Communications officer
World Health Organization

Communications officer
World Health Organization


World News – CA – New global breast cancer initiative underscores renewed commitment to improving survival