Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and 70% of breast cancer deaths occur in women from low-income and middle-income countries. Latin America has about 115,000 new cases of disease every year, with about 50,000 arising in Brazil. We examined the present status of breast cancer in Brazil as an example of the health effects of geographical, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversities on delivery of care. Our goal was to identify deficiencies that could be responsible for disparities in survival from breast cancer. We searched the English and Portuguese published work and reviewed national databases and Brazilian publications. Although the availability of publications specific to Brazil is low in general, we identified several factors that could account for disparities: delays in diagnosis due to low cancer awareness and implementation of mammography screening, unknown quality of surgery, and restricted access to radiotherapy and modern systemic therapies.
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