Document Type



Medical College Pakistan


To promote a systems-based approach for the early detection and downstaging of breast cancer at presentation in the remote mountainous region of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), Tajikistan, by introducing breast cancer awareness into the community and training health care professionals in clinical breast evaluation (CBE).
Through a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Health, the Aga Khan Health Services, Tajikistan, and the Aga Khan Health Board, we organized breast cancer screening in the community and trained family medicine doctors (FMDs) and family medicine nurses (FMNs) in CBE. We identified and trained CBE master trainers, who, in turn, systematically trained FMNs to conduct CBEs in each of the remote regional clinics.
Between 2014 and 2017, 47 FMDs (85% of all FMDs in GBAO), 166 FMNs (55% of all FMNs in GBAO), and six master trainers were trained. Of 3,556 women who were screened, abnormal CBEs were noted in 696 of them (20%). Of the last 1,101 CBEs that were performed by trainee FMNs, with secondary CBEs by master trainers, the rate of abnormal CBEs plateaued at 9%. A total of 18 women were diagnosed with breast cancer-2.6% of abnormal CBEs and 0.5% of all screened women.
A dual-pronged approach of community awareness and CBE training of health care professionals, supported by CBE master trainers, offers a sustainable approach for the early detection of breast pathology. We observed anecdotal evidence of clinical early-stage detection over time with improved CBE proficiency and community acceptance. Sustaining this program will require advocacy by health care providers and a responsive public policy to support the early detection and treatment of breast cancer across the region.


Journal of global oncology

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.