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Cancer. 1990 Jun 15;65(12):2803-10.

The control of breast cancer. A World Health Organization perspective.

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Cancer Unit, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.


The greatest decrease in breast cancer mortality is likely to derive from applying globally existing therapies at an earlier stage. A high priority of the World Health Organization (WHO) cancer control program is the outreach approach that promotes worldwide access to cancer therapies of proven values. Therefore, the first priority in national health programs for breast cancer is to encourage patients to present for diagnosis and treatment at an earlier stage of the disease. In the development of guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer, the WHO emphasizes the importance of appropriate widespread coverage of high-risk groups as opposed to repetitive screening of low-risk groups, so that early detection will be effective. A WHO/USSR controlled trial of breast self-examination and community-based adjuvant therapy is helping to develop the WHO global recommendations for the control of breast cancer. Depending on the extent of the breast cancer problem, the local resources, and the cultural situation, national health strategies should include all three main elements--public education, early detection, locally available treatment, or a combination of these to a national comprehensive program for the control of breast cancer.

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