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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Stakeholders unite in international call to tackle breast cancer gaps and inequities

Health Industry Hub | April 19, 2024 |

Pharma News: Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has united in an international call to raise breast cancer care standards and tackle disparities within and between countries, including Australia.

The release of findings and recommendations by the Lancet Breast Cancer Commission has spotlighted the urgent need to uplift breast cancer care globally. The report aims to mitigate the societal impact of breast cancer, which is projected to impact over 3 million individuals annually by 2040.

Vicki Durston, BCNA’s Director of Policy, Advocacy & Support Services and president of the General Assembly and board member of the Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) Global Alliance, voiced support of the landmark report, saying, “While advances have been made in breast cancer, there remain significant inequities, including access to care and treatment among disadvantaged groups, financial toxicity, and a lack of comprehensive cancer data to inform global policy development.”

She further commented, “Although the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is high in Australia, there is still significant equity of access issues, particularly for those with metastatic breast cancer, and people from priority populations including First Nations, LGBTIQ+, CALD, and rural and remote communities.” 

Echoing BCNA’s 2023 report Time to Count People with Metastatic Breast Cancer – A Way Forward, the Lancet Commission’s recommendations advocate for comprehensive cancer data collection, including metastatic breast cancer cases, to optimise patient support. The report also underscores the multifaceted costs of breast cancer, urging society to recognise and address these hidden burdens.

Furthermore, the Commission underscores the importance of early detection through personalised risk management, aligning with BCNA’s call for risk-stratified breast screening in Australia, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Collaboration among stakeholders, including governments, health services, and patient advocates, is deemed essential to bridging outcome disparities.

Ms Durston emphasised the pivotal role of patient advocacy organisations like BCNA in driving systemic change, citing initiatives such as the national roundtable on MBC data collection.

“The Lancet report is yet another example of how the global community of breast cancer research, treatment, and advocacy is leading change across all cancers,” Ms Durston said. 

The Lancet report serves as a clarion call for all nations, underscoring the ongoing imperative to ensure equitable access to breast cancer treatment and care.

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