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ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is the commonest cancer of women the world over, and its incidence is rising, especially in developing countries, where the disease poses a major health care challenge. This growing incidence in developing countries reflects the advanced stage at diagnosis, low levels of public awareness of the risk for the disease, and poor medical infrastructure and expertise, with the resultant poor treatment outcomes.
This article provides a collective edited summary of the presentations at the symposium titled "Breast Cancer Care in Developing Countries," held as part of the Breast Surgery International program at the International Surgical week 2007, Montreal, Canada, August 2007. The aim of the presentations was to bring out the diverse clinical pathological and outcomes-related facts of breast cancer care available to women in several countries. As the incidence of breast cancer continues to rise steadily in the developing world, the lack of awareness of this disease and the absence of breast cancer screening programs make it almost certain that the majority of breast cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage. In addition, the quality of care available for breast cancer patients varies widely according to where the patient is treated.
Though there are some centers of excellence providing multimodality protocol-based treatment on a par with the best anywhere in the world, most breast cancer patients receive inadequate and inappropriate treatment because of a lack of high-quality infrastructure-and sometimes skills-and, above all, because of limited financial resources.
In countries where these limitations are present, there is a need to emphasize public health education, promoting early diagnosis. In addition, resources must be directed toward the creation of more public facilities for cancer treatment. As these goals are met, it is likely that there will be a much-needed improvement in breast cancer care in developing countries.
World Journal of Surgery 09/2009; 33(10):2069-76. · 2.23 Impact Factor