Every three minutes a woman dies from breast cancer in Latin America as a result of late diagnosis, an issue which, experts say, is five times more common in the region than others around the world.
“If we continue with this trend, by 2030 there will be 5,200 additional deaths in the region, but if not, we could save up to 19,000 lives with timely diagnoses and access to treatment,” said Felicia Marie Knaul, president and founder of Tomatelo a pecho (Take it to Heart Association).
At least 73 percent of cases of breast cancer are detected at the second or third stages in Latin America, however, in the United States, over seventy percent of patients are diagnosed by stage one at the latest, Knaul said during the International Congress "Mexico against breast cancer, towards a comprehensive policy" in Mexico City.
The numbers are higher in regions struggling with higher rates of poverty. Experts believe that a better education and health programs, as well as support from local health ministries, may be the best solution to early diagnoses.
“Self-exploration should be encouraged, habits of healthy lifestyles, but especially the timely diagnosis because in Latin America, we are still arriving late and that increases morbidity and mortality. An increase in the culture of prevention is needed,” said Eduardo Pesqueira, the general director of the National Center of Equity of Gender and Reproductive Health of the Secretariat of Health.
Among those organizations available to cancer patients to meet their medical or financial needs across Latin America are Asociación Mexicana contra el Cancer de Mama A.C (Mexican Association Against Breast Cancer), the Rebeca de Alba Foundation, Fucam, Tomatelo a pecho (Take it to Heart), Toca compartir es vivir (Sharing is Living), Pintadita a tu Salud, and Soul.