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 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
Early detection is key to reducing the cost and improving the success of treatment, yet screening is a rarity in many countries. This is particularly tragic with cervical cancer, which develops very slowly after initial infection with the human papillomavirus. Early detection and treatment of precancer have high success rates, yet a quarter-million women still 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 and sophisticated laboratories. We’re also helping to introduce vaccines against the human papillomavirus to protect young women before they ever become infected.
Breast cancer: new approaches for new settings
PATH is also 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, breast and cervical cancer mean a death sentence. 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
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