New Coalition Launched to Fight Breast and Cervical Cancers Across Asia-Pacific

02 June 2023 | Friday | News

Coalition promotes innovations to reduce soaring breast and cervical cancers in the region
Image Source | Public Domain

Image Source | Public Domain

 Crowell & Moring International is joining forces with Roche, TogetHER for Health, CAPED and Jhpiego to raise awareness about the surge of breast and cervical cancer cases in the Asia-Pacificregion by founding the Asia-Pacific Women's Cancer Coalition.


The coalition will focus on identifying opportunities and addressing the gaps to support countries in achieving their national targets for cancer prevention and control, through catalytic public and private partnerships and the sharing of best practices for policy interventions, especially related to adopting innovative technologies to support screening and early detection, and effective disease management.

The coalition seeks to drive change throughout the region and highlight the innovations and solutions with the highest potential to reduce incidence and mortality associated with breast and cervical cancers among women. The coalition underscores the need for Asia-Pacific nations to intensify efforts toward improved prevention, early detection and management, as reflected in recent global initiatives by the World Health Organization to address the high burden of both cancers.

"By improving the detection and management of these cancers, we will be able to positively impact the lives of women and their loved ones, allowing them to seek the help they need earlier," said Deepti Saraf, general manager of Roche Pharma Malaysia. "The Asia-Pacific Women's Cancer Coalition demonstrates the strength and impact that partnership and a multi-stakeholder approach can have in collectively addressing complex healthcare challenges across the region."

"Inequities in health care access for women are most significant in LMICs, and research tells us that these pressing challenges are further exacerbated in Asia Pacific due to societal taboos, expectations and socio-economic conditions," said Amy Ho, head of Disease Areas at Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific. "The coalition provides a collaborative and system-wide approach to tackle some of the biggest obstacles faced in improving inequities in women's cancer care."

"We have the knowledge and technology to eliminate cervical cancer with effective, low-cost tools, such as vaccines against cancer-causing strains of Human papillomavirus (HPV) and routine screening and treatment of lesions prevents cancer," said Heather White, executive director of TogetHER for Health.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death around the world, and breast and cervical cancer are the leading causes of cancer deaths among women. The incidence of both cancers among Asia-Pacific nations is particularly high. Breast cancer in the region accounts for nearly half of the new cases around the world. Cervical cancer accounts for almost 3 in 5 new cases among women globally.

"To overcome the challenges of late diagnosis in breast cancer and inadequate services in regions of Asia Pacific we would like to work through the Coalition to strengthen early detection, access to treatment, and amplify what works," said Maura McCarthy, senior technical advisor at Jhpiego.

"By implementing comprehensive and sustainable initiatives, we can empower communities, enhance awareness, and provide accessible cancer screening and treatment options. Together, let us prioritize the health and well-being of women everywhere, ensuring that no one is left behind in the fight against cervical and breast cancer," said Mridu Gupta, CEO of CAPED.

The coalition will initially focus on Thailand, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, mirroring priorities set forth by the World Health Organization's cancer initiatives:

  • Prevention: Implement effective primary and secondary prevention programs for cervical cancer, along with health promotion and early detection for Breast cancer to increase awareness and support early detection and treatment.
  • Management: Promote cost effective and equitable health care innovations for management of both cancers. The Coalition seeks to promote domestic implementation of the principles and strategies set out in the WHO's cancer initiatives1.

The coalition will conduct outreach in each of the focal countries to build national coalitions across multiple stakeholder groups (e.g., government leadership, civil society, academia, professional societies, the commercial sector) to accelerate achievement of key milestones in their national breast and cervical cancer control plans.


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