The Lancet Breast Cancer Commission

Document Type



General Surgery (East Africa)


The Lancet Breast Cancer Commission report shows inequities in prevention, detection, treatment, and supportive care, with many groups of people with breast cancer being systematically left behind and forgotten. This is a global error as people with breast cancer are indispensable to our culture and socioeconomic system.

New findings: The number of people living with metastatic breast cancer is unknown and many do not receive appropriate care. With adequate resources and a shift in attitudes, it might be possible to cure some people, treat most, alleviate the suffering of all, and abandon no one.

Hidden breast cancer costs and suffering can be financial, physical, psychological, emotional, and social, affecting children, families, communities, and wider society. Exposing and reducing costs and suffering provides incentives for policy makers to invest in prevention, early detection, cost-effective therapies, and optimal management of breast cancer. •

Improving patient communication in breast cancer improves not only quality of life and body image, but also adherence to therapy, which can affect survival outcomes. Breast cancer can be seen as robbing many patients of power, but through good communication and facilitating patient autonomy, there could be an opportunity to regain power and exercise empowerment in other areas of their lives.

Roadmap for change: Our inclusive roadmap addresses urgent breast cancer challenges through six themes:Society should prevent as many as possible of the 3 million new diagnoses of breast cancers that are predicted to occur per year by 2040, through global national policy changes to minimise modifiable risk factors and coordinated, systematic personalised risk prevention programmes.

Health-care systems and clinicians should personalise the right treatment at the right time for individuals while respecting their personal needs and preferences.

We call for high-quality cancer registry data on cancer relapses to be collected worldwide and include not just those with metastatic breast cancer, but also with other metastatic cancers.

Collaboration is key to close the equity gap through global early diagnosis, treatment frameworks, and innovative technologies.

We should identify the value that society places on relief of the hidden costs and suffering related to breast cancer and measure the benefits of addressing these costs.

Placing patients at the centre of clinical communication and empowering them to exercise their voices about their breast cancer care is an achievable and necessary global goal.

Publication (Name of Journal)

The Lancet