Breast Cancer in Mexico: A Pressing Priority
Posted: 7 Apr 2009
Date Written: November 2008
Breast cancer is a serious threat to the health of women globally, and an unrecognised priority in middle-income countries. This paper presents data from Mexico. It shows that breast cancer accounts for more deaths than cervical cancer since 2006. It is the second cause of death for women aged 30-54 and affects all socio-economic groups. Data on detection, although under-reported, show 6,000 new cases in 1990, and a projected increase to over 16,500 per year by 2020. Further, the majority of cases are self-detected and only 10% of all cases are detected in stage one. Mexico's social security systems cover approximately 40-45% of the population, and include breast cancer treatment. As of 2007, the rest of the population has the right to breast cancer treatment through the Popular Health Insurance. Despite these entitlements, services are lacking and interventions for early detection, particularly mammography, are very limited. As of 2006 only 22% of women aged 40-69 reported having a mammogram in the past year. Barriers exist on both the demand and supply sides. Lobbying, education, awareness-building and an articulated policy response will be important to ensure expanded coverage, access to and take-up of both treatment and early detection.
Keywords: breast cancer and screening, cervical cancer, socio-economic status, health policy and programmes, Mexico
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