STORY: Launch of the Global Breast Cancer Initiative - WHO
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
RELEASE DATE: 03 February 2023
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UN Health agency launches the Global Breast Cancer Initiative to tackle the most common cancer with some of the greatest inequities
A UN-led global initiative to tackle breast cancer could save 2.5 million lives in the next 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Each year, more than 2.3 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer, making it the most common cancer in the world, according to WHO.
Although a limited number of high-income countries have been able to reduce breast cancer mortality by 40 per cent since 1990, for women in poorer countries, one of the main challenges is to receive timely diagnosis.
“Breast cancer survival is 50 per cent or less in many low and middle-income countries,” WHO’s Dr. Bente Mikkelsen told journalists in Geneva. The rate is “greater than 90 per cent for those able to receive the best care in high-income countries”, she emphasized.
To tackle these inequalities, and to coincide with World Cancer Day on 4 February, the UN agency’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative seeks to reduce breast cancer mortality by 2.5 per cent a year.
To address country-specific needs and provide guidance to governments, the initiative’s framework has three pillars: promotion of health controls to encourage early detection; timely diagnosis and treatment with effective therapies.
By 2040, more than three million cases and one million deaths are expected each year worldwide. Approximately 75 per cent of these deaths will happen in low and middle-income countries.
"We really cannot avoid breast cancer if we are going to address cancer in countries,” said Dr. Ben Anderson, Medical Officer for WHO’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative. “It’s the most common cancer, among men and women together, it is the most likely reason that a woman will die of cancer globally, it is the most common cancer among women in 86 per cent of countries, and it is the number one or two cause of cancer-related death in 95 per cent of countries, so having a framework to build upon over the coming years is an essential beginning point.”