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Summit on Breast Health and Cancer Control Concludes

New Guidelines Expected on Supportive Care and Quality of Life

Julie Gralow

Dr. Julie Gralow, who Co-Chaired the Global Summit at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, welcomes particpants at the opening day on 3 October 2012. (Photo: BGHI)

The 5th Global Summit on International Breast Health: Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control - Supportive Care and Quality of Life concluded Friday, 5 October 2012 in Vienna, Austria. Convened jointly by the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) and the IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), it brought together leading global experts in breast cancer, palliative care hospice and patient advocacy.

Discussions during the three-day meeting covered areas related to supportive care and quality of life issues for breast cancer patients in developing countries, including the role of radiation medicine in palliative care. Additionally, issues specific to survivorship and patients' follow-up, treatment-related supportive care and end-of--life and palliative care for women in low- and middle-income (LMI) countries were also discussed.

The Summit, which also marked the 10-year anniversary of the founding of the BHGI, opened with overviews by representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the IAEA.

In his opening address, Acting Head of the PACT Programme Office, Rolando Camacho Rodriguez, said "The IAEA's aim is to ensure that radiation medicine is integrated within national cancer control programmes to guarantee sustainability and effectiveness. Therefore, partnership to cover all areas of expertise is crucial for the IAEA."

"Cancer diagnosis and treatment have been an important focus area of the IAEA for decades, and cancer-related services have been growing in importance for the Agency's Member States. Today, some 25% of all technical cooperation projects focus on cancer diagnosis, treatment and related activities."

In his statement to the recently-held General Conference, IAEA Director General Amano reaffirmed the importance the Agency puts on cancer control and prevention.

"Cancer in developing countries is high on the IAEA's agenda. It is also my passion," he said. "I plan to strengthen our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)."

A major goal of the Summit is to contribute to the production of guidelines on Supportive Care and Quality of Life for breast cancer patients to be published in 2013.

These guidelines will provide important insights on how to improve the lives of women with breast cancer and their families in many parts of the world.

Background

The Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) is an IAEA initiative that supports LMI Member States in their efforts to tackle the growing cancer crisis by raising cancer awareness, assessing needs and mobilizing resources. PACT builds on the IAEA's expertise in radiation medicine, to assist countries in developing sustainable and comprehensive cancer control programmes that integrate radiation medicine.

IAEA and BHGI have been working together since 2010 to address the growing number of breast cancer deaths in LMI countries.

The Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) strives to develop, implement and study evidence-based, economically feasible, and culturally appropriate Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control for low- and middle-income countries (LMCs) to improve breast health outcomes and access to breast cancer screening, detection and treatment for women.

-- by Lizette Kilian, IAEA Division of Public Information

(Note to Media: We encourage you to republish these stories and kindly request attribution to the IAEA)