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Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2007 Aug;7(8):1095-104.

The Breast Health Global Initiative: clinical practice guidelines for management of breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries.

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  • 1University of Malaya, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine University, Malaya Medical Centre, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Breast cancer is an increasingly urgent problem in low- and mid-level resource countries of the world. Despite knowing the optimal management strategy based on guidelines developed in wealthy countries, clinicians are forced to provide less-than-optimal care to patients when diagnostic and/or treatment resources are lacking. For this reason, it is important to identify which resources commonly applied in resource-abundant countries most effectively fill the healthcare needs in limited-resource regions, where patients commonly present with more advanced disease at diagnosis, and to provide guidance on how new resource allocations should be made in order to maximize improvement in outcome. Established in 2002, the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) created an international health alliance to develop evidence-based guidelines for countries with limited resources (low- and middle-income countries) to improve breast health outcomes. The BHGI serves as a program for international guideline development and as a hub for linkage among clinicians, governmental health agencies and advocacy groups to translate guidelines into policy and practice. The BHGI collaborated with 12 national and international health organizations, cancer societies and nongovernmental organizations to host two BHGI international summits. The evidence-based BHGI Guidelines, developed at the 2002 Global Summit, were published in 2003 as a theoretical treatise on international breast healthcare. These guidelines were then updated and expanded at the 2005 Global Summit into a fully comprehensive and flexible framework to permit incremental improvements in healthcare delivery, based upon outcomes, cost, cost-effectiveness and use of healthcare services.

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