Continuing Medical Education

The challenges of managing breast cancer in the developing world – a perspective from sub-Saharan Africa

Jenny Edge, Ines Buccimazza, Herbert Cubasch, Eugenio Panieri


Communicable diseases are the major cause of mortality in lower-income countries. Consequently, local and international resources are channelled mainly into addressing the impact of these conditions. HIV, however, is being successfully treated, people are living longer, and disease patterns are changing. As populations age, the incidence of cancer inevitably increases. The World Health Organization has predicted a dramatic increase in global cancer cases during the next 15 years, the majority of which will occur in low- and middle-income countries. Cancer treatment is expensive and complex and in the developing world 5% of global cancer funds are spent on 70% of cancer cases. This paper reviews the challenges of managing breast cancer in the developing world, using sub-Saharan Africa as a model.

Authors' affiliations

Jenny Edge, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

Ines Buccimazza, Department Surgery, Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, Durban, South Africa

Herbert Cubasch, Department Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Eugenio Panieri, Department Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Cape Town, South Africa

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Breast cancer; sub-Saharan Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2014;104(5):377-379. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.8249

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-03-25
Date published: 2014-04-05

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