Discrimination, a factor in higher mortality from breast cancer

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The discrimination is one of the main factors behind higher mortality from breast cancersince it delays the search for therapeutic help or causes the patient to receive lower quality care, or to abandon treatment, said today the World Health Organization (WHO).

The structural factor that has been most closely related to a fatal outcome so far is the povertybut experts have established that there is also a relationship with the discrimination suffered by women, be it for gender, racial or ethnic reasons.

In the case of poverty, it has been documented that the 70% low-income women they must sell what little they have to pay for treatment, the WHO said today when announcing a global initiative against breast cancer, the most common in the world.

Thus, discrimination added to poverty explain why the survival rate for breast cancer is 50% or less in the countries of low and middle incomeand up to 90% when compared to people who receive the best treatments in the richest countries.

The WHO has no doubt that this public health problem will worsen and projects that by 2040 there will be more than three million cases per year -compared to 2.3 million currently- and one million deaths, with 75% in poor countries.

To avoid this, the Organization today presented a roadmap based on early diagnosis programs focused on identifying people with signs or symptoms that may suggest a malignant disease.

Another central element is ensuring that the diagnosis is quick after the patient's first appointment, since it has been proven that the more delay there is, the greater the risk of the disease being in an advanced stage.

For this reason, it is recommended that the distinction between a case of breast cancer and another disease in the same part of the body be made within the first two months, that treatment begin within three months, and that they are not abandoned along the way.

"When treatment takes too long or is not given completely, people suffer side effects but fail to benefit from its full potential for curing cancer," explains the Organization's roadmap.

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Nathan Rivera
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