Breast Cancer programme

UICC’s Breast Cancer programme is designed to respond to the urgent need to accelerate progress in breast cancer.

Femama Breast Cancer

Why now? 

Despite advances and progress seen in breast cancer in recent years, current data highlight that breast cancer incidence and mortality remain the highest for cancer in women, and that this trend is only going to accelerate in the next 20 years.

More about breast cancer

Strengthen and engage the global breast cancer community

UICC’s Breast Cancer programme is designed to respond to the urgent need to accelerate progress in breast cancer, which is the most diagnosed cancer in both men and women and the leading cause of death from cancer in women. This comprehensive programme strengthens and engages the global breast cancer community, with the overall goal of contributing to the reduction of premature deaths from breast cancer and improving the quality of life of patients.

Objectives of the programme

Leveraging established UICC Capacity Building programmes and convening platforms, the Breast Cancer programme aims to strengthen the capacity of key breast cancer actors to increase their impact and engage them in support of the WHO Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI)’s targets.  

Through a series of activities and opportunities, the programme aims to deliver in the following key outcomes:

  • Accelerate the development of breast cancer leaders
  • Strengthen organisational capacities of breast cancer organisations, including patient groups 
  • Support the development of the health workforce in breast cancer 
  • Support national action on breast cancer in responding to key areas and needs in breast cancer control
  • Strengthen networks and collaborations in breast cancer at a national, regional and global level
  • Unite the voice of the breast cancer community, including patient groups, to advocate for more effective breast cancer control 

The programme builds bridges between a vast array of stakeholders (cancer organisations, patient groups, healthcare providers, private sector, governments and multilateral agencies) at regional and global levels to catalyse engagement towards the WHO GBCI targets, with a focus on action in low and middle income countries.  

Current activities

Impact of the programme

Since October 2020, 644 individuals from 357 organisations in 110 countries were engaged in the Breast Cancer programme working towards the realisation of the WHO GBCI targets.

UICC supports the launch of new national projects driving national action to improve the early diagnosis of breast cancer through 19 projects funded in 18 countries.


To achieve the above key outcomes, UICC is continually developing and offering new opportunities to support the breast cancer community, and provide a space to learn and share experiences, and evidence-based practices. Some key activities of the Breast Cancer programme (non-exhaustive) include: 

Driving national action to advance early detection  

UICC supports the launch of new national projects driving national action to improve the early diagnosis of breast cancer. In 2022, four projects in advocacy, education of health care workers and patient navigation were completed in LMICs. In 2023, 15 new projects from universities, hospitals and civil society organisations are implementing a one-year grant to help improve the early detection of breast cancer. 

Learning to implement strong breast cancer programmes

In 2022, 64 organisation took part in the Master course "Good practices for planning and implementing breast cancer projects" to learn how to implement strong and evidence-based projects. The course was built upon a dedicated Project ECHO® focussing on the Knowledge Summaries for Breast engaged 25 breast cancer organisations around the world for a period of six months with the objective to help them deliver stronger breast cancer control policies and programmes.

Convening the breast cancer community regionally and globally 

Breast cancer is addressed through major UICC platforms. At a regional level meetings enabling Ministries of Health and leaders of civil society are taking place in Francophone Africa, Latin America and Asia to enable growing collaborations for integrated approaches for women’s cancers. Finally, Virtual Dialogues are proposed throughout the year to engage the wider breast cancer community virtually on key topics. 

In the 2022 World Cancer Congress, in addition to a wide array of session on breast cancer a workshop was held in collaboration with the WHO GBCI ‘Advancing early detection of breast cancer in resource- limited settings’. 

During the 2021 World Cancer Summit experts in breast cancer came together to discuss ‘The role of innovation and cross-sectoral partnerships in advancing global breast cancer control’. 

Promote patient-centred cancer control and strengthen the patient voice

To help raise the voices of people living with breast cancer, UICC engaged 50 patient groups focussing on breast cancer in the Master course on Patient Engagement in 2020. Benefitting from live webinars, learning opportunities and best practice sharing, these patient groups participated in tailored discussions on breast cancer during the Master course, now available as a self-guided course on demand. In addition, the Patient Group Mentoring Programme has also been extended into the Eastern Mediterranean region, with ten breast cancer patient organisations joining the mentoring programme. Through regular webinars, they receive tailored assistance and relevant connections in the region and beyond, to stimulate the creation of new patient groups in the region. Patients are included in all convening and capacity building opportunities of the Breast Cancer programme. 

Advance national breast cancer control through advocacy

The Breast Cancer programme is supporting organisations in the development and implementation of their national cancer advocacy efforts through the Cancer Advocates programme. 13 organisations with a focus on breast cancer were selected as part of the 2021 Cancer Advocates cohort. They received advocacy training and individual mentorship.

Support the development of the health workforce in breast cancer

To strengthen the skills of individual healthcare professionals and share knowledge and expertise between organisations, breast cancer professionals are invited to apply for a UICC Technical Fellowships. Technical Fellowships allow individuals to visit another organisation for a period of up to two months to acquire specific skills or knowledge, for example in the area of public health or clinical service delivery. 

“While the incidence of breast cancer is generally higher in more developed regions, the number of cases is rising in low- and middle-income countries and they are often diagnosed later, leading to more serious outcomes. The Breast Cancer programme is part of a broader UICC commitment to women’s cancers and will strengthen the capacity of key breast cancer actors in order to reverse these trends. This not only promises to prevent thousands of premature deaths but also contribute to greater equity in cancer care.”
Princess Dina Mired Quote image
HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan
Past President of UICC

A multi-partnership initiative

In line with its ambition to engage all actors from the breast cancer community, UICC’s Breast Cancer programme is a multi-partnership initiative gathering leading organisations from the private sector, development agencies and NGOs. The Programme is supported by Pfizer (Founding Partner), Daiichi Sankyo, Revolution Watch, the US National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health, Roche and Novartis, in collaboration with the Breast Health Global Initiative, and WHO's Global Breast Cancer Initiative.

breast cancer partners

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer globally. 

Doctor and patient at the Hellenic Cancer Society demonstrating self-exam

In the last decade, UICC has launched a series of initiatives to encourage early detection and improve access to treatment and care.

people around a stand selling pink products

This page regroups important resources on breast cancer control such as infographics, videos, articles and tools.   

Call for Applications for Project ECHO Breast Cancer Control Course, photo (c) Sarah Cervantes Unsplash

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been celebrated every October since the nineties. It is called 'Pink October' as people around the world adopt the pink colour and display a pink ribbon to raise awareness about breast health.

Last update

Monday 27 March 2023

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