Breast Cancer – What can be done and what is being done
Most of us have been touched in some way by breast cancer, the number one cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to reflect on the special women in our lives who died too soon, many leaving behind devastated families.
Founded in 1985 in the United States, Breast Cancer Awareness Month quickly spread around the globe, raising awareness about the impact of breast cancer on women, but also on their families, communities, and societies. This initiative has been a catalyst for many countries to increase resources for research and treatment, giving many women and their families renewed hope and a new lease on life.
Early diagnosis and access to good quality, affordable and timely care are the cornerstones of breast cancer control. Some risk factors can be modified through information and advocacy, including unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.
And in recent years, women’s cancers have been put on the global development agenda. WHO’s Global Action Plan on Non – communicable Diseases (NCDs), endorsed by all countries, is part of a broader effort to reduce the growing impact of cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health 2016-2030, alongside the Sustainable Development Goals, envisions a world in which no women, child or adolescent dies from preventable or treatable causes. Whereas the previous strategy focused primarily on maternal health (pregnancy and childbirth), the new strategy looks at women’s health more holistically and across all ages and stages of life. The Global strategy, which emphasizes multi-sector partnership and collaboration, recommends that healthcare for NCDs – including breast cancer – be provided as part of an integrated approach to promote women’, children’s and adolescents’ health.
Guided by these strategies, we must urgently scale up efforts to address women’s cancers everywhere, especially in low-resource settings, as part of broader efforts to improve women’s health across the life-course.
Breast cancer kills too many women, with terrible ripple effects through families and communities. We must work towards a world in which women – no matter where they live – have access to the services that ensure they survive.
Original Credit Report Written By: Flavia Bustreo and Dr Oleg Chestnov
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