Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women in China, with 1.1 million new cases annually. China’s breast cancer mortality has doubled over the past 30 years. Diagnosis tends to be made when the women are older and already in Stage III/IV, compared to Western countries where patients generally are diagnosed earlier and have a higher cure rate.
In an effort to help reverse these trends, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in December 2012 welcomed a delegation of 15 national and provincial health leaders from China for a week-long visit to learn about breast cancer treatment and prevention in the U.S. and to make plans for HSPH’s new Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Initiative in China.
Composed of representatives from the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and officials from China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), the delegation discussed China’s breast cancer programs and needs with cancer specialists from HSPH, Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), and other physicians in the greater Boston area. The visitors attended lectures, visited medical facilities, and interacted with prominent academics, public, and private sector leaders.