This International Women’s Day, UICC is proud to announce the launch of the Knowledge Summaries for Comprehensive Breast Cancer Control (KSBCs) developed as a tool to help policy makers identify and prioritise resource-appropriate interventions across the continuum of care. The series has been designed to assist cancer planners to engage multiple stakeholders in developing comprehensive breast cancer programmes, by establishing a common platform for discussions.
“UICC believes that all women must have access to information for their own breast health and access to lifesaving early detection, referral and treatment services. We call on policy makers to harness these new resources to put these critical services in place.” explained Dr Julie Torode, Deputy CEO of UICC.
Compiled and edited under the umbrella of Breast Cancer Initiative 2.5, the KSBCs draw on evidence and best-practices developed by experts from WHO PAHO, the Breast Health Global Initiative, US National Cancer Institute’s Center for Global Health, University of Washington and UICC. Each summary focuses on a different element of planning, prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care with the option to use them as standalone summaries to check and challenge current activities, or as a series to design a new comprehensive strategy.
Across all income settings, breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women worldwide and affects more than 1.6 million women each year. Estimates suggest that 5.8 million women worldwide will die from breast cancer between 2015 and 2025, with a disproportionate number of these deaths occurring in low-resource settings. Higher breast cancer case fatality rates in low-resource settings have been attributed to late stage diagnosis, limited access to treatment, as well as poor awareness of the benefits of breast health, early detection and treatment.
UICC would especially like to acknowledge Andre Ilbawi who drafted the foundation text which shaped this series during a UICC Fellowship in 2014 supported by the US National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health.
Breast cancer in the workplace
The focus for this year’s International Women’s Day is on women in the changing world of work. Contrary to population expectations, 66% of breast cancer cases occur in women under the age of 54, overlapping significantly with the working age population. This has significant implications not only for a woman’s health and wellbeing, but also her ability to actively participate in work and support herself and family. For example, WHO AFRO found that for the two most prevalent women’s cancer, breast and cervix, around 62% of patients in Nigeria were unable to work, and 33% reported that relatives had disrupted their own work to provide care.
Each year, a potentially large number of women are unable to engage in formal work because of their diagnoses. By the same token, workplaces offer a significant opportunity to support women during a cancer diagnosis and to reduce risks through education about signs, symptoms, and early detection. With this in mind, UICC and Bupa jointly developed a series of resources to help build partnerships for workplace cancer initiatives under the banner Cancer – it’s everyone’s business. Use this International Women’s Day to engage employers and employees as crucial partners in conversations on breast cancer.