Canada is situated north of the United States. It is one of the largest countries by area and home to 35 million people. In 2013 approximately 187000 new cases of cancer were reported. Overall, cancer and heart disease are the number 1 and 2 causes of death in Canada, respectively. Approximately 30% and 21% of all deaths are due to these 2 major diseases. In women, lung, breast and colorectal cancers are the major forms of cancers contributing to 26, 14 and 12%, respectively, of all cancer deaths in women. Aggressive prevention and availability of treatment options has translated to a steady decline in breast and colorectal cancer mortality. Nevertheless, there remains much work. Major funding agencies including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCRA), Cancer Research Society and many local charities have contributed significantly to the fight against ending breast cancer.
France is the third largest and third most populous European country.
French women represent 52% of the total current population of nearly 66 million. The French Institute National du Cancer (INCa) has claimed breast cancer as the most frequent cancer affecting French women with nearly 50,000 new cases annually. The latter represents 50% of all cancer cases diagnosed among women. Breast cancer is also the most deadly, having the highest mortality rate compared to all other types of cancer affecting French women.
The year 2012 observed the first subtle decline in breast cancer mortality rate. This decline has been linked to a more proactive prevention cancer plan that emphasizes earlier screening and quicker treatment for more French women.
The President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande announced the 2014-2019 Cancer Plan on World Cancer Day, February 4th. The 3rd cancer plan adds onto the second cancer plan 2009-2013 with four new priorities: cure more cancer patients, preserve the quality of life of cancer patients, invest in prevention and research and maximize the efficiency of organizations. The aim of this new plan is to preserve the integrity of the cancer patient and to reduce cancer incidence.
Ghana is a country in West Africa with a population of 25 million people and the home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area. It is the world’s second largest cocoa producer and one of the world's largest gold producers. Considering the absence of a national cancer registry in the country, hospital based data has indicated that, cancer is fourth cause of deaths with the five most common being; cancers of the liver, breast, cervix, prostate, and stomach. Breast cancer is the leading malignancy for women accounting for 15 % of all cancers and the incidence appears to be increasing.
Cancer care in Ghana has improved substantially in the past 10 years. Solid tumours used to be managed entirely with surgery followed by some form of chemotherapy, or by chemotherapy alone. However, since radiotherapy was introduced to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in 1997 and to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in 2004, multidisciplinary approaches with some adjuvant treatments and palliative care strategies have enhanced cancer management in the country. Despite these advances, however, most patients with cancer still present at late stages, because of personal factors and deficiencies in the general health-care system. Currently, Ghana faces several challenges to cancer management, including a scarcity of trained professionals and the prohibitive costs of investigations and treatments.
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.
The Netherlands is the 10th most populous country in Europe (the 24th in the world) with over 16 million people. It has the 12th highest cancer rates in the world. Breast cancer is the most common and the second leading cause (after lung cancer) of death in the female population. Approximately 14,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year in the Netherlands. The first pilot program of breast screening was launched in 1975 and breast cancer mortality has been decreasing since 1997 after having been stable for decades. In 2002, the first multidisciplinary National Breast Cancer Guideline was published.
The State of Qatar is a sovereign Arab state located on the west coast of the Peninsular Gulf. With proven reserves of oil and natural gas, Qatar is one of the world’s richest countries with GDP per capita of $98,329 in 2011. The government of Qatar has made health care research as one of national research priorities; close to 3% of its annual GDP ($3.5 billion USD, more than any other country in the world) is allocated to funding research in Qatar. Among Qatari women, the leading cancer diagnosis, far greater than diagnosis of other cancers, is breast cancer. Effort to fight cancer at primary, secondary and tertiary levels has been a priority for health care system and health care professionals in Qatar - evidence by the launch of the comprehensive Qatar National Cancer Strategy in 2012.
Switzerland is situated in Western and Central Europe with population of 8 million people. It is the birthplace of the Red Cross and home to a large number of international organizations. Breast cancer is the leading cancer diseases in Swiss women, representing approximately one third of all new cancer cases and almost a fifth of deaths from cancer. It can occur at a younger age than most other cancers. The number of women affected by breast cancer has recently declined after decades of increase. However, there is an increased incidence rate in women under the age of 50. Switzerland has excellent cancer surveillance and treatment with the Swiss pharmaceutical industry as a leading producer of anticancer drugs. Now Switzerland is in partnership with the IBCN on primary prevention of breast cancer.
The United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population (0.3 billion). It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nationals. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. About 1 in 8 American women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 1971, the USA passed the National Cancer Act, starting the “War on Cancer”. The incidence of breast cancer declined in the early 2000 and has remained stable since 2004. In 2007, the world’s first normal breast tissue bank was founded in Indianapolis. In 2010, Sophie Lelièvre and Connie Weaver, two professors from Purdue University, launched the International Breast Cancer and Nutrition (IBCN) project to foster the development of a community of scientists across disciplines, public health experts and stakeholders dedicated to research on the primary prevention of breast cancer.
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.