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CGH observes National Women’s Health Week

, by Isabel Otero

The Knowledge Summaries of Comprehensive Breast Cancer Control are available through the International Cancer Control Partnership portal.

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is observing the 17th annual National Women’s Health Week. The goal of the National Women's Health Week is to empower women to make their health a priority. The week also serves as a time to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their health. The 17th annual National Women’s Health Week kicked off on Mother’s Day, May 8, and is celebrated through May 14, 2016.

In celebration, the NCI Center for Global Health held a seminar on the Knowledge Summaries for Comprehensive Breast Cancer Control: Pathways for Advanced Cancer Planning. The seminar was presented by Dr. Andre M. Ilbawi, the medical officer for Cancer Control, at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, and Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski, Senior Advisor for Women’s Cancers, Center for Global Health, NCI.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women around the world and is of particular growing concern to women in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), where deficits in resource-limited health care systems have led to deficits in cancer control, particularly early detection and treatment of breast cancer. This has resulted in a call for action by policy-makers, healthcare professionals, international agencies, including civil society, and industry to improve access to breast cancer care in LMICs.

The Knowledge Summaries for Comprehensive Breast Cancer Control were born in part from lessons learned from international efforts led by WHO in LMICs in the planning and implementing of integrated approaches to maternal and child health, as well as efforts of the Breast Health Global Initiative to develop culturally appropriate, economically feasible, evidence-based resource-stratified Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control. The Summaries, which are made up of 16 documents, are designed to address foundational questions and answers in comprehensive breast cancer care across the life-course, recognizing that variation exists within and between health systems around the globe. They can be used as a communication tool to help guide the integration of services, and the utilization and prioritization of resources. The Summaries present clinical knowledge in a policy framework that can be used by managers (and other decision-makers) to make decisions on resource allocation for breast cancer.

As a CGH fellow, Dr. Ilbawi helped draft the Summaries, which were later reviewed by NCI (and other) experts. As part of the work she does for CGH, Dr. Zujewski has been working with the Women Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WE CAN) to disseminate the Summaries to advocacies, clinicians, and policy-makers in LMICs. WE CAN Summits have been held in Kenya, Romania, Tanzania, Peru, Georgia, Uganda, and Tajikistan.

The Summaries were launched in 2014, with 2 modules available online. The complete set of 16 modules is expected to be available late in 2016.  Available modules can also be downloaded in Russian and Spanish. 

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