SWITZERLAND— The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new Global Breast Cancer Initiative Framework, providing a roadmap to attain the target to save 2.5 million lives from breast cancer by 2040.

The new framework, which could save millions of women from breast cancer according to experts at the WHO comes after the World Health Assembly passed a resolution in 2017 pushing for the same actions for control.

Taken together, experts say these initiatives can revert the generational harm from cancers and save more than a million lives in the next ten years.

Since 2018, WHO has developed integrated initiatives in women’s and children’s cancers, calling also for the elimination of cervical cancer and a doubling of childhood cancer survival.

The framework was launched ahead of World Cancer Day, marked globally on February 4.

It recommended to countries implement the three pillars of health promotion for early detection, timely diagnosis, and comprehensive management of breast cancer to reach the targets.

Each year, more than 2.3 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer, making it the most common cancer in the world affecting all adults, according to WHO.

In 95 percent of countries, breast cancer is the first or second leading cause of female cancer deaths. Yet, survival from breast cancer is widely inequitable between and within countries.

Up to 80 percent of deaths from breast and cervical cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries and, according to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director General, countries with weaker health systems are least able to manage the increasing burden of breast cancer.

Although a limited number of high-income countries have been able to reduce breast cancer mortality by 40 percent since 1990, for women in poorer countries, one of the main challenges is to receive a timely diagnosis.

Breast cancer survival is 50 percent or less in many low and middle-income countries,” said Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, WHO Director for Noncommunicable Diseases.

But the rate is “greater than 90 percent 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, the UN agency’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative seeks to reduce breast cancer mortality by 2.5 percent a year.

Countries with weaker health systems are least able to manage the increasing burden of breast cancer.

“It places a tremendous strain on individuals, families, communities, health systems, and economies, so it must be a priority for ministries of health and governments everywhere,” Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said, adding that “We have the tools and the know-how to prevent breast cancer and save lives.

WHO is supporting more than 70 countries, particularly low and middle-income countries, to detect breast cancer earlier, diagnose it faster, treat it better, and give everyone with breast cancer the hope of a cancer-free future.”

By 2040, more than three million cases and one million deaths are expected each year worldwide. Approximately 75 percent 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,” Dr. Ben Anderson, Medical Officer for WHO’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative, said.

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 percent of countries.”

However, in the statement is another revelation from a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which suggests that of the estimated 4.4 million women who died of cancer in 2020, nearly 1 million children were orphaned by cancer, 25 percent of which were due to breast cancer.

They note that children who lose their mothers to cancer experience health and educational disadvantages throughout their lives, triggering generational, chronic social disruption and financial harm in many cases.

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