DALLAS--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--World Cancer Day 2017 marks the release of a comprehensive report on breast cancer in Tanzania, funded by Susan G. Komen and Merck & Co. The assessment recommends specific actions to standardize breast cancer treatment, streamline patient referrals, and invest in provider training – all vital steps in combating the growing impact of breast cancer in Tanzania.
“There is strong support for addressing and improving breast cancer care throughout Tanzania. However, a number of challenges impede availability and access to care”
About 80 percent of Tanzanian women are diagnosed with breast cancer at advanced stages (III or IV), and half of all diagnosed will die of the disease.
Komen was asked by the Tanzania Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children to conduct an investigation of the country’s health infrastructure, and prioritize action items to address gaps and improve breast cancer care. This work builds upon Komen’s ongoing efforts to reduce the burden of breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa through the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership.
Komen worked in partnership with a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts from the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Tanzania women’s health organization WEMA and the Ocean Road Cancer Institute of Dar es Salam.
“There is strong support for addressing and improving breast cancer care throughout Tanzania. However, a number of challenges impede availability and access to care,” said University of Washington Director of Breast Medical Oncology, Komen Scholar and BCI2.5 Secretariat Co-chair Dr. Julie Gralow. “These challenges create significant delays in detection, diagnosis and treatment, and result in more than 80 percent of breast cancer patients being diagnosed at late stages when treatment is less effective and costlier.”
Using tools and strategies developed by Breast Cancer Initiative 2.5 (BCI2.5) – a global campaign to reduce disparities in breast cancer outcomes – the assessment lays out a resource-appropriate, phased implementation plan to address the need for standardized guidelines, a streamlined referral system and investment in human resources, especially pathology capacity and training of primary care providers:
- Prerequisites: Standardized guidelines, protocols and trained health care workforce.
- Phase 1: Diagnosis and management of palpable breast disease.
- Phase 2: Treatment planning adapted to the resources available in the community.
- Phase 3: Targeted education interventions for public and health care staff and scaling up clinical breast examination (CBE) to ensure more breast cancers are detected early.
- Phase 4: Management of non-palpable disease as a prerequisite to image-based (mammographic) screening.
“Successful breast cancer control demands integrating early detection programs with accurate diagnosis and timely, accessible and effective treatments. Addressing any of these components in isolation will not improve breast cancer outcomes,” cautioned Anna Cabanes, Ph.D., MPH, Director of Global Programs at Komen.
“While ambitious, we believe that these recommendations are feasible and can be achieved if each step is adequately resourced and fully implemented,” said Dr. Benjamin O. Anderson, Director of the Breast Health Clinic at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, Washington, Komen Scholar and Secretariat Co-chair of BCI2.5.
The assessment is the latest milestone in Komen’s global efforts to combat breast cancer, currently taking place in more than 30 countries. Learn more about the current state of breast cancer in Tanzania and the assessment’s key findings in the full report.
About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social.