The United States
The International Breast Cancer and Nutrition (IBCN) project was initiated through Purdue’s Discovery Park, located at West Lafayette, Indiana. The United States is the third largest country by land area and population. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations. For women in the US, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer. It is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. About 1 in 8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2011, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the US. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the primary federal agency focused on cancer research and training.
Uruguay is the second-smallest nation in South America. It is home to 3.3 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in adults after cardiovascular diseases in Uruguay (~ 24 %) with a similar profile to developed countries. Uruguay has been working on cancer prevention for long time and was one of the first nations in the world that signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and developed tobacco control policies. For adults’ women in Uruguay, breast cancer is the first leading cause of incidence and deaths. The health policies in primary prevention of breast cancer in Uruguay are focused on promotion of healthy diet and avoiding the obesity as a risk evitable factor of cancer and promote studies about this topic.
Breast cancer incidence has been on the rise in Lebanon and many middle and low income countries in the region. In Lebanon, breast cancer has a higher prevalence than most other countries of the region especially amongst women of the younger age group of 35-50 years old. As a result there is a growing interest in raising awareness about breast cancer causes, early detection and prevention. There are several research projects at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Lebanon that look into breast cancer prevalence and frequency of BRCA mutations among other studies seeking to decipher mechanisms of breast cancer progression at the cellular level. The international breast cancer and nutrition (IBCN) project vision is well aligned with Lebanon’s national directives in combatting the disease through prevention campaigns and supporting capable multidisciplinary research teams. Besides this, the IBCN project provides Lebanon a unique access to expertise and knowledge sharing forums that include other member countries that would not have been available otherwise.
As a result, Lebanon has already initiated collaborative research projects and student exchange with member countries and is looking forward to host the 4th IBCN international symposium at AUB in October 2013. A local organizing committee has been set up for that purpose and other interdisciplinary research teams have assembled and already gearing to participate in grant writing with IBCN member countries and countries in the region. The intent is to look into lifestyles and cultural dietary habits and how that affects the genomic imprints acquired during the lifetime of individuals in populations at risk, and the incidents of breast cancer. This is the third year that Lebanon is part of the IBCN group and much has been done, but more efforts are needed to secure substantial funds so that Lebanon can become an effective participant in this global effort. We are very excited about this project and looking forward to the years ahead.
Canada is the second largest country in the world by area. It is home to 35 million people, most of whom live in the southern regions of the country. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for Canadian women. Canada has a history of promoting cancer prevention through public health, health care, and research efforts. Agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Cancer Society have named cancer prevention research as a current priority. The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance was recently formed to coordinate the efforts of numerous research, funding, clinical, patient, survivor, and policy partners across the nation. One goal the alliance is furthering prevention research in Canada.