Strategic Meeting for Breast Cancer Advocacy in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil
On October 18, 2011, Susan G. Komen for the Cure hosted a strategic meeting in the State of Sao Paulo that brought together community advocates to address prevailing breast cancer challenges in the region.
The roundtable included experts, healthcare professionals, and NGO and government representatives from the state. This is the first of several meetings focused on identifying and reducing the challenges that result in the lack of proper access to prevention and treatment services for citizens at all levels of the healthcare system. Recently, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s President announced a commitment of R$4.5 billion reais (roughly $2.8 billion dollars) to the improvement of the country’s health services. Interestingly, the commitment was not in support of all chronic diseases, but specifically towards the fight against cancer. Needless to say, the subject is very timely as cancer advocates throughout the country begin to mobilize and strategize.
Many people don’t realize, but Brazil is an expansive country with communities and regions that vastly differ from its north to south tips. As Dr. Carlos Ruiz, President of the Brazilian Mastology Society aptly put it, “this is the Brazil of many Brazils”. In a country that faces on average 50,000 new cases of breast cancer each year, unfortunately in states like Sao Paulo women still struggle to get adequate preventive and treatment services. Most unfortunate is the fact that mortality rates continue to grow.
While it may be easy to attribute some of these statistics to less than adequate healthcare services, the roundtable focused on what can be done now. Participants suggested that mammography in Brazil is available for the most part. However, much education and training is still very much needed to ensure the accuracy and reliability of exams. Additionally, the diagnosis and treatment cycle is often delayed creating a less than favorable situation for women in need of immediate care. Over the next few months, the Global Initiative Team will identify specific focus areas for action teams in the state of Sao Paulo. A follow-up meeting is expected to take place in early 2012.
Since 2007, the Global Initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness has been active in Brazil providing grants to strengthen awareness programs at the community level. In addition to community grants, advocacy meetings such as this one have become more and more important in linking Komen to the country’s cancer network. Stay tuned.
Read more about our work in South America here.
About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.