Understanding breast cancer as a global health concern

Br J Radiol. 2022 Feb 1;95(1130):20211033. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20211033. Epub 2021 Dec 14.


Breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. The most recent global cancer burden figures estimate that there were 2.26 million incident breast cancer cases in 2020 and the disease is the leading cause of cancer mortality in women worldwide. The incidence is strongly correlated with human development, with a large rise in cases anticipated in regions of the world that are currently undergoing economic transformation. Survival, however, is far less favourable in less developed regions. There are a multitude of factors behind disparities in the global survival rates, including delays in diagnosis and lack of access to effective treatment. The World Health Organization's new Global Breast Cancer Initiative was launched this year to address this urgent global health challenge. It aims to improve survival across the world through three pillars: health promotion, timely diagnosis, and comprehensive treatment and supportive care. In this article, we discuss the key challenges of breast cancer care and control in a global context.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Expectancy
  • Program Development
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • World Health Organization