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Department of Oncology


Many people with breast cancer are ‘systematically left behind’ due to inaction on inequities and hidden suffering, according to the report.

At the end of 2020, 7.8 million women were alive having been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years; this reflects progress in research and cancer management that has led to a decrease of over 40% in breast cancer mortality in most high-income countries (HICs).

However, 685,000 women died from the disease in 2020, and glaring inequities and suffering related to physical symptoms, emotional despair, and financial burden are often hidden and inadequately addressed.

A new Lancet Commission, led by Professor Charlotte Coles, Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, UK, a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Research Professor and Oncology Consultant at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, sets out recommendations to tackle these urgent challenges in breast cancer.

Professor Coles says, “Recent improvements in breast cancer survival represent a great success of modern medicine. However, we can’t ignore how many patients are being systematically left behind. Our Commission builds on previous evidence, presents new data, and integrates patient voices to shed light on a large unseen burden. We hope that, by highlighting these inequities and hidden costs and suffering in breast cancer, they can be better recognised and addressed by health care professionals and policymakers in partnership with patients and the public around the world.”

For further information about the Commission's recommendations click here.