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The 2012 GLOBAL SUMMIT on INTERNATIONAL BREAST HEALTH: Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control – Supportive Care and Quality of Life, was convened by the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI), organised in co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) of the United Nations, an OPEN REGISTRATION scientific conference.  The BHGI and PACT work together to integrate overlapping programs to achieve common goals of capacity building via stronger regional and national healthcare systems. In holding the 2012 Global Summit through international collaboration, the organizations sought to address a pressing cancer need, Supportive Care and Quality of Life (QOL), which begins at the point of cancer diagnosis and is required throughout the course of the patient’s life. Supportive Care and QOL is critical for resource allocation decisions, especially in low and middle resource countries (LMCs) where comprehensive treatment is not fully available. 

During the October 2012 Global Summit, international presentations, discussions, and professional networking connected national and international organizations and experts from around the world, as they analyzed issues of Supportive Care and QOL in breast cancer care delivery in diverse socioeconomic environments around the world.



Julie R. Gralow, MD
Director, Breast Medical Oncology, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Clinical Research Division, Associate Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Professor, Medical Oncology Division, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
Rolando Camacho-Rodriguez, MD
Acting Head of the PACT Programme
Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Vienna, Austria


To improve global breast cancer outcomes, the BHGI has developed comprehensive resource-stratified, evidence-based clinical guidelines to effectively detect, diagnose and treat breast cancer and prioritize resource allocation in breast care programs, through a series of Summits (held in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2010). The Guidelines are ‘tools’ for LMCs with systems-based solutions to assist ministers of health and policy makers, healthcare institutions, clinicians and others. The resource-stratified guidelines on Supportive Care and QOL in breast cancer care delivery, the published outcomes of the 2012 Global Summit, will harmonize with the previously published BHGI Guidelines.


Relatively little research has focused on key supportive care and quality of life issues for women suffering from breast cancer in LMCs.  Supportive care and QOL are more difficult to measure than are standard statistics such as longevity, survival time and mortality rates.  However, the fact that supportive care and QOL research is often ignored belies that undeniable recognition that QOL should drive resource allocation decisions, especially in limited resource settings where comprehensive treatment is not fully available. 

The BHGI has the opportunity to reverse this neglectful trend of ignoring these issues by providing a setting where ‘mixed method’ (quantitative and qualitative) implementation research is explored in focused scientific fashion, to help determine what helps people live better with cancer and its treatments.  By applying BHGI analytic and consensus methodology to supportive care and QOL research on breast cancer in LMCs, BHGI and IAEA PACT hosted the ground-breaking Global Summit to drive creation of published guidelines on a largely unexplored but clinically critical health care arena.

  • The Summit analyzed Supportive Care and QOL issues for breast cancer patients in LMCs from the perspective of Long-term Survivorship and Follow-up, Treatment-Related Supportive Care, and End-of-life and Palliative Care, and development of the first evidence-based consensus Guidelines covering the topics of treatment-related supportive care, survivorship, palliative care for metastatic disease and end-of-life care for breast cancer patients in LMCs, currently in development for peer-reviewed publication later next year.
  • UNIQUE EDUCATIONAL EVENT The 2012 Global Summit provided a unique event in the international health community to analyze Supportive Care and QOL issues for breast cancer patients in LMCs scenarios, and enhance knowledge and understanding of optimal breast health care delivery in LMCs in this essential and multifaceted component of patient care.

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