Protecting women the world over from cervical and breast cancer
While fewer women in wealthy countries are dying from breast and cervical cancer, the rates are actually rising in less-developed regions of the world. Some 85 percent of women who die from cervical cancer live in poorer countries, while breast cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths for women worldwide.
The burden of these diseases falls most heavily on poor, marginalized, and rural women due to their unequal access to screening, diagnosis, and treatment. PATH is working to reduce this inequity by bringing better prevention, screening, diagnosis, and support services closer to women to improve their chances of survival.
Cervical cancer: the right tools for the right place
Cervical cancer is highly preventable through vaccination and screening, yet these services remain rare in many countries. This is particularly tragic since cervical cancer develops very slowly after initial infection with the human papillomavirus, offering a large window of opportunity for finding precancerous lesions through screening. Early detection and treatment of precancer have high success rates, yet more than a quarter million women die from the disease each year.
The good news is that remarkable progress has been made against cervical cancer since PATH started working on the disease in the 1990s. PATH is advancing screening methods that deliver quick results and don’t rely on expensive laboratories and treatment methods that are less dependent on sophisticated supply chains. We’re also helping to introduce vaccines against the human papillomavirus to protect young adolescent girls before they become infected.
Breast cancer: new approaches for new settings
Early detection is also key to reducing the cost and improving the success of treatment for breast cancer, yet PATH is one of only a few organizations testing new approaches to address breast cancer in low-resource settings—from bringing breast cancer education to women in their neighborhoods to training local doctors to perform biopsies.
For far too many women, diagnosis of breast or cervical cancer is a death sentence because it comes too late. It does not need to be that way. By advancing the most effective and affordable approaches for prevention, early detection, and treatment of these diseases, we’re bringing hope to women the world over.
Photo: PATH/Will Boase
How Uganda is beating cervical cancer—and lighting the way for the rest of Africa
Advancing screening and vaccine tools to prevent cervical cancer
A PATH partnership in Peru brings early breast cancer detection