In Mexico, an estimated of 23,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed per year. 60% of the cases are diagnosed in stage III and IV. Although the rate of new breast cancer cases is increasing each year, the federal budget allocated to the disease is decreasing, partially due to the lack of visibility of Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) patients and the absence of legal mechanisms that enforce their rights.
Cancer Warriors is an NGO focusing on improving the quality of life for adults and children fighting cancer in Mexico. Their recent achievement includes the enactment of the Bill for occupational leave for parents with children with cancer in Mexico. With this recent success, the organisation is ready to take the rights of cancer patients one step further by putting their expertise in the legislative, health and public policy fields to the service of MBC patient’s rights.
With their SPARC grant awarded in October 2019, Cancer Warriors will work towards establishing a surveillance commission to enforce the rights of Mexican women with MBC. They will advocate for legal reform to the Mexican General Health Law section targeting “Palliative Care and End-Stage Disease Patients”.
It is proposed that the Surveillance Commission has the following specific objectives:
Ultimately, the project aims at making the MBC patients more visible as humans that have the right to be treated with dignity. Once the Surveillance Commission is established, it will follow up on the enforcement of the rights of MBC patients.
"We cannot leave MBC patients fighting their last battle alone. Is not fair. They need us and we will fight alongside them."
To move towards the establishment of the Surveillance Commission, several meetings with Mexican senators and members of the House of Representatives will take place in the next months. Research will be carried out to assess the current state of treatment services and palliative care for MBC patients in Mexico.
The main aim is to avoid the reduction in the federal budget for women with MBC. It is also anticipated that MBC patients will experience an improvement of their quality of life and will have their voices heard.
Alongside this, it is expected that other cancer types and diseases will benefit from the establishment of this type of Surveillance Commission and the legal mechanism this represents. The indirect impact expected is to enable other cancer types to benefit from such a legal mechanism in place.
(Information from the project description and context is compiled from the grant application)