Grants for the early detection of breast cancer

As part of its Breast Cancer programme, UICC has awarded 15 grants to UICC members to support evidence-based projects focused on improving the availability of and access to early detection of breast cancer.

Society for Cancer Advocacy and Awareness Kuching  (SCAN) - SCAN breast cancer awareness project - online story sharing by breast cancer survivors

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. If detected early enough, however, it can be treated successfully. Yet in many parts of the world, notably in low- and middle-income countries, breast cancers are detected at more advanced stages, when the disease has spread to another part of the body. Through early detection and the downstaging of disease, significant progress can be made in reducing global breast cancer mortality.   

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Building on the SPARC Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge – a grants initiative that has enabled the launch of 51 new projects addressing the needs of advanced breast cancer patients since 2015 through the distribution of  USD 1,565,000 – UICC awarded 15 grants of up to USD 20,000 each to projects offering an evidence-based approach to improving the availability of and access to early detection. Projects started in October 2022 and were implemented for a duration of one year. 

Focus areas of awarded organisations 

The grants address two of the three pillars of the WHO Global Breast Cancer Initiative, which aims to avert 2.5 million deaths by 2030, namely health promotion and early detection, and timely diagnosis.  The 15 projects to be supported will receive up to USD 20,000 each, and focus on the following topics: 

  • Promotion of breast health, breast cancer symptoms and addressing the stigma of the disease, encouraging individuals to seek medical advice as early as possible. 
  • Training of health care workers to identify symptoms and help patients navigate through the health system and services. 
  • Connecting hard-to-reach populations to existing services where available.  
  • Improving the coordination of services and referral systems for timely and quality diagnosis. 
  • Advocacy campaigns leading to broad stakeholder engagement and additional resources for early detection 

The review and selection process for the grants sought to ensure that any project supported includes access to referral systems and follow-up treatment and care for those diagnosed, of critical importance where efforts to increase early detection and timely diagnosis are being implemented.

Projects awarded

Organisation Project leader  Country Project title
Asociación Salvadoreña para la Prevención del Cáncer (ASAPRECAN) Lisseth Guadalupe Ruiz de Campos El Salvador Improving early diagnosis of breast cancer in a public healthcare network in El Salvador: a pilot study/ project
B. P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital Asmita Rana Nepal Education and training of primary health care workers to improve patient pathway for early detection of breast cancer
Fundación Movicáncer Nicaragua  Orlando Benito Martinez Granera Nicaragua Strengthening of early detection and access to Pro Breast Health assistance in the Region of Río San Juan
Indira Cancer Trust N Lanka Jayasuriya Dissanayake Sri Lanka National Program for Early Diagnosis of Breast Cancer through Breast Health Awareness and Clinical Breast Exam in Sri Lanka
International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care Patsy Yates Canada Breast aware:  A train the trainer programme for nurses in Africa
National Cancer Council of Mongolia Tsetsegsaikhan Batmunkh Mongolia Improvement of breast cancer screening adherence in rural area of Mongolia
National Cancer Institute, Misrata Muna Abusanuga Libya Enhancing breast cancer knowledge and clinical skills among healthcare providers at the polyclinics in Misrata, Libya
Ocean Road Cancer Institute  Nazima Dharsee Tanzania ‘Reach and Teach’- Increasing community awareness of breast cancer in Tanzania
PinkDrive Renee Goedhals South Africa Expansion of breast cancer screening to Limpopo
Public Foundation "Ergene" Nargiza Bakirova Kyrgyzstan Diagnostic mobile mammography integration  with CBE for breast cancer early detection in the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan
Rwanda Cancer Relief Niyibizi Asuman Brandon Rwanda Breast cancer early detection and care coordination in Rwanda
Society for Cancer Advocacy and Awareness Kuching (SCAN) Melissa Siaw Han Lim Malaysia Beyond breast cancer awareness in rural Sarawak, Borneo - a documentary of outreach programs
Supportive Fund for Cancer Patients - Bright Future Tran Huong  Vietnam Awareness and capacity building for women and commune health collaborators on breast cancer prevention in ethnic minority in Vietnam
Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organisation (UWOCASO) Gertrude Nakigudde Uganda Improving breast cancer early diagnosis in Uganda through training of village health team volunteers about signs and symptoms of breast cancer and using patient navigation to connect them to imaging and biopsy
University of Malaya Nur Aishah Taib Malaysia A sustainable community navigation implementation programme for early diagnosis of breast cancer amongst the disadvantaged urban poor in Selangor

Review committee

The 15 organisations were shortlisted out of 71 applications reviewed by an independent Review Committee consisting of 13 international experts in breast cancer, chaired by Dr Julie Gralow, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  

  • Anna Cabanes, Senior Advisor, Global Focus on Cancer, USA 
  • Corinne Balleyguier, Radiologist, Gustave Roussy, France 
  • Freddy Gnangnon, Professor of Surgical Oncology, Faculty of Health Science Cotonou, Benin 
  • John Scheel, Associate Professor, University of Washington, USA 
  • Leshia Hansen, Cancer Screening and Prevention Content and Board Manager, US NCI, USA 
  • Maira Caleffi, President, FEMAMA, Brazil 
  • Maurício Magalhães Costa , President, International Senology Society, Brazil 
  • Miriam Mutebi, Vice President, AORTIC, Kenya  
  • Mishka Cira, Public Health Advisor, National Cancer Institute, USA 
  • Ranjit Kaur, Board Member, Reach to Recovery International, Malaysia 
  • Saunthari Somasundaram, President, National Cancer Society of Malaysia, Malaysia 
  • Temidayo Fadelu, Physician Medical Oncology, Instructor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, USA 
  • Verna Vanderpuye, Consultant, National Center for Radiotherapy, Ghana 

“Survival rates for breast cancer are highest when it is detected early, accompanied by timely access to treatment,” said ASCO Chief Medical Officer Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO. “It’s critical that we support innovative programs enabling early diagnosis for all patients so they may have the best chances for a good outcome. We applaud these new grants for organizations working to improve early detection as an important step toward this goal.” 
– Dr Julie Gralow, Chief Medical Officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

A male nurse checks a screen during a surgery

UICC has a long history of building capacity for cancer organisations globally through grant making.

Ukrainian children with cancer and their families were airlifted to Spain, where they can continue their treatment and are being cared for by Fundación Aladina and other cancer organisations.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UICC set up a Solidarity Fund in response to its members’ requests to bridge funding into the region to support the needs of cancer organisations struggling to assist patients affected by the conflict. 

Group of women standing in front of abstract poster and smiling

Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) accounts for 90% of breast cancer deaths. To tackle this growing cancer burden in 2015 UICC teamed up with Pfizer Oncology to launch the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) MBC Challenge

Last update

Wednesday 24 April 2024

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