The incidence of breast cancer in Latin American countries is lower than that in more developed countries, whereas the mortality rate is higher. These differences probably are related to differences in screening strategies and access to treatment. Population-based data are needed to make informed decisions. A 65-question telephone survey that included 100 breast cancer experts from 12 Latin American countries was conducted in 2006 as an exploratory analysis of the current state of breast cancer treatment in these regions at both at the country level and at the center level. Greater than 90% of countries had no national law or guideline for mammography screening. The access rate to mammography was 66.3% at the country level and 47% at the center level. Variation in care based on level (country vs center) was indicated for the timing of treatment after diagnosis, timing from initial diagnosis to treatment, and the time from surgery to initial chemotherapy. However, the more sophisticated diagnostic testing for hormone receptors and biomarkers were available at most centers (>80%), and, overall, nearly 80% of patients started treatment within 3 months of diagnosis. Variation in care between breast cancer care at the center level versus the country level indicated a need for national cancer care programs. Alternative data collection strategies for understanding the state of breast cancer control programs in developing countries can help identify areas of improvement.
(c) 2008 American Cancer Society.