New Lancet Commission on Breast Cancer: Transforming breast cancer care globally

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The new Lancet Commission on Breast Cancer today released findings and recommendations on improving breast cancer care globally. Over the past two years, the international multidisciplinary group of experts, including Dr Fatima Cardoso, president of the Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) Global Alliance, has worked to transform the breast cancer care landscape. Supported and funded in part by the ABC Global Alliance, the commission has led debate around key issues, supported pilot studies, culminating it its landmark report advocating for six crucial areas for change.

One such areas in metastatic or advanced breast cancer. The report notes that 20 to 30% of patients with early breast cancer suffer recurrences that are not usually documented by most national oncology registries. As a result, the number of patients living with metastatic breast cancer, already a poorly understood disease, is unknown. The authors argue that at least 70% of oncology registries worldwide must better document the stage of the disease upon diagnosis, as well as relapses, to accurately reflect the prevalence and impact of the disease. This would be supported by the improvement of early diagnosis programs, with the commission aiming for 60% of invasive cancer cases diagnosed in stage I or II.

Patients living with metastatic/advanced breast cancer (MBC/ABC) have long suffered from stigma, misconceptions, and abandonment not just from society in general but also from healthcare providers and patient advocacy groups. There is an urgent need for change in the way metastatic breast cancer is understood and managed. With this change, it will be possible to treat most, alleviate suffering for all, and forget no-one living with MBC/ABC. This is one of the strongest messages from the new Lancet Commission on Breast Cancer, which is totally aligned with the long-lasting fight from the ABC Global Alliance."

Dr. Fatima Cardoso, the ABC Global Alliance President and Director of the Breast Unit at the Champalimaud Clinical Center, Lisbon, Portugal

The report also stresses the importance of improving communication with patients, stating all healthcare professionals in the world should receive training in communication skills to allow them to better involve patients in all stages of cancer care.

The report further states there are many costs - physical, psychological, social and financial - that are poorly recognized or not captured by current global health indicators, a gap that the Commission argues must be addressed urgently by developing new tools and metrics.

The new Lancet Commission on Breast Cancer started to work in 2021 with the commitment to raise the standard of breast cancer care and to close the equity gap that exists between and within countries. The recommendations to face the urgent challenges for breast cancer patients will be released this Tuesday, April 16, at 2 pm, in an online session.

Registration can be done via the link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lancet-breast-cancer-commission-report-launch-tickets-862423932197).

The Commission's work was funded and supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Breast Cancer Now, the ABC Global Alliance and the University of Cambridge.

Source:
Journal reference:

Coles, C. E., et al. (2024) The Lancet Breast Cancer Commission. The Lancet. doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(24)00747-5.

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