ecancermedicalscience

Short Communication

Breast cancer in Gaza—a public health priority in search of reliable data

1 Oct 2019
Shaymaa AlWaheidi

Gaza has experienced 12 years of isolation which has crippled the health system infrastructure, reduced the quality of living conditions, damaged the health of the population and reduced health service capacity and capability. This paper presents a context-setting review of what is already known about breast cancer in Gaza to identify which interventions are applicable to help prevent women there from dying unnecessarily from breast cancer. A search of the published and unpublished literature was conducted to identify potentially relevant studies on breast cancer which were either done in Gaza or elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory. This paper highlights the pervasive lack of basic modalities of cancer care (surgery, radiotherapy, systemic therapies and pathology/imaging) in Gaza. Poor access to breast cancer services in Gaza leaves women with only one alternative—to seek treatment outside of Gaza. However, women are sometimes forced to wait months before receiving permits to leave Gaza for treatment. Furthermore, a lack of complete and reliable data remains a major challenge for improving breast cancer services in Gaza. There is a need to develop and evaluate interventions to promote infrastructure for pathology and drug delivery, medical training and cancer registration and monitoring.

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