Feature | October 23, 2013

Developing World Faces Breast Cancer Surge, Study Suggests

Consumer awareness and cultural barriers surrounding screening putting lives at risk

mammography systems women's health ge healthcare
October 23, 2013 — Rising breast cancer incidence and mortality represent a significant and growing threat for the developing world, according to a new global study commissioned by GE Healthcare.
 
“Breast cancer is on the rise across developing nations mainly due to the increase in life expectancy and lifestyle changes such as women having fewer children, as well as hormonal intervention such as post-menopausal hormonal therapy,” said Bengt Jönsson, professor in health economics, Stockholm School of Economics and report co-author with Nils Wilking, M.D., Ph.D. “In these regions, mortality rates are compounded by the later stage at which the disease is diagnosed, as well as limited access to treatment, presenting a ‘ticking time bomb,’ which health systems and policymakers in these countries need to work hard to defuse.”?
 
Need for better consumer education
The report on “the prevention, early detection and economic burden of breast cancer” suggests that consumer understanding about breast cancer and screening methods is putting lives at risk in the developing world. For example, a recent survey[1] in Mexico City indicated many women feel uncomfortable or worried about having a mammogram.
 
“It is of great concern that women in newly industrialized countries are reluctant to get checked out until it is too late,” said Claire Goodliffe, global oncology director, GE Healthcare. “This is why GE is working with a number of governments and health ministries in these regions to expand access to screening and improve consumer awareness. Some of these initiatives are making excellent progress.”
 
Years of healthy life lost
The study draws some interesting conclusions about the impact of breast cancer on sufferers’ lives. According to the most recent published data, 15 million years of “healthy life” were lost worldwide in 2008 due to women dying early or being ill with the disease. “Healthy life lost” is defined by years lost due to premature death and being incapacitated by the effects of breast cancer. Women in Africa, China and the United States lost the most years of healthy life. Furthermore, of the 15 million years lost globally, more than three times as many years were lost due to dying than being ill with the disease. For women in Africa, Russia, Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the number of healthy years lost due to death were up to seven times greater than elsewhere in the world.
 
“The report findings suggest that a worryingly high proportion of women are still dying from breast cancer across the world and this seems to correlate strongly with access to breast screening programs and expenditure on healthcare,” said Jönsson.
 
He went on to highlight the distinct lack of accurate and current data in areas like breast cancer incidence and mortality, the economic burden of the disease and detailed patient-linked data on outcomes in relation to treatment patterns and stage of diagnosis. 
 
“This limits analyses of how changes in clinical practice affect patient outcomes and needs to be addressed,” he said.
 
As mortality falls, quality of life is an issue
As breast cancer incidence rates have steadily increased in developed countries over the last 50 years, it is no surprise that the main focus of treatment has been survival. However as more women are now living with the disease, the report suggests that quality of life is becoming a growing issue as survival rates improve. As a result, doctors are urged to focus on measuring the impact of diagnosis and treatment on survivors’ quality of life to identify what problems patients may have and how these can be mitigated.
 
“This report finds a direct link between survival rates in countries and the stage at which breast cancer is diagnosed,” said Goodliffe. “It provides further evidence of the need for early detection and treatment which we welcome given current controversies about the relative harms, benefits and cost effectiveness of breast cancer screening.”
 
Country/continent breakdown: years of healthy life lost/ratio of healthy life lost due to death versus living with disability

Global:                          15,127,050       3.2:1

Africa:                           1,751,772         7.0:1

China:                           1,739,518        2.8:1

United States:               1,294,414        1.6:1

Russia:                              635,497       4.0:1

Germany:                          460,066       1.8:1

Brazil:                                427,393       2.9:1

Japan:                               381,079       2.0:1

France (metropolitan):    352,920        1.5:1

United Kingdom:             340,797        1.8:1

Italy:                                    329,447        1.6:1

Mexico:                               186,906       3.7:1

Spain:                                 171,311       1.8:1

Canada:                              156,963       1.5:1

Turkey:                                151,802       4.4:1

Australia, New Zealand:   113,459       1.5:1

Sweden:                                43,202       1.6:1

Saudi Arabia:                        28,253        4.5:1

 
For more information: newsroom.gehealthcare.com
 
References
[1] Webb, M. L., Cady, B., Michaelson, J. S., Bush, D. M., Calvillo, K. Z., Kopans, D. B. and Smith, B. L. (2013), A failure analysis of invasive breast cancer. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.2819, and Perry et al European guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer screening and diagnosis: Fourth Edition http://www.euref.org/european-guidelines

Related Content

Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center Implements Digisonics Solution for OB Ultrasound
News | Ultrasound Women's Health | June 17, 2019
Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center in Warm Springs, Ore., has selected the Digisonics OB PACS (picture archiving...
Fujifilm Announces Nationwide Breast Health Campaign With Mobile Mammography Coach

At the center of the campaign, Fujifilm will be traveling around the U.S. with its "Aspire to Be Fearless" mobile mammography coach to provide educational opportunities for clinicians, raise awareness about the importance of screening and will be providing mammograms to the underserved population in key locations.

News | Mammography | June 14, 2019
Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. announced a nationwide awareness campaign titled ‘Aspire to Be Fearless’ focused...
Ikonopedia Showcases Risk Assessment and Resolution Manager Tools at SIIM and AHRA
News | Mammography Reporting Software | June 13, 2019
Ikonopedia will showcase its suite of structured breast reporting and Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA)...
iCAD Introduces ProFound AI for 2D Mammography in Europe
News | Artificial Intelligence | June 13, 2019
iCAD Inc. announced the launch of ProFound AI for 2D Mammography in Europe. This software is the latest addition to...
Three Palm Software Releases WorkstationOne Version 1.8.8
Technology | Mammography Reporting Software | June 12, 2019
Three Palm Software announced the release of the 1.8.8 version of its breast imaging workstation, WorkstationOne. This...
Volpara Health Technologies to Acquire MRS Systems Inc.
News | Mammography Reporting Software | June 04, 2019
Volpara Health Technologies, Volpara Solutions' parent company, has signed a binding agreement to acquire U.S.-based...
62-year-old female patient presenting for 3D screening mammogram. Location of an indeterminate low-density circumscribed mass was not clearly determined as at the skin line or just under the surface.

62-year-old female patient presenting for 3D screening mammogram. Location of an indeterminate low-density circumscribed mass was not clearly determined as at the skin line or just under the surface.

Feature | Mammography | May 31, 2019 | By Olive Peart M.S., R.T.(R)(M)
In recent years there has been a lot of debate about the role of the...
Quantitative Transmission Ultrasound Featured at Acoustical Society of America

Fused QT Ultrasound 3-D quantitative transmission ultrasound and compounded reflection axial images showing high resolution image of internal organs, tissue, skin and hair of neo-natal piglet. Anatomy courtesy of C. Ruoff, DVM.

News | Ultrasound Imaging | May 29, 2019
May 29, 2019 — QT Ultrasound recently showcased its advanced...
VolparaDensity With Tyrer-Cuzick Model Improves Breast Cancer Risk Stratification
News | Breast Density | May 22, 2019
Research has demonstrated use of Volpara Solutions' VolparaDensity software in combination with the Tyrer-Cuzick Breast...
Partial Breast Irradiation Effective, Convenient Treatment Option for Low-Risk Breast Cancer
News | Radiation Therapy | May 20, 2019
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast...