Breast Cancer programme

UICC’s Breast Cancer programme is designed to respond to the urgent need to accelerate progress in breast cancer.

Femama Breast Cancer

Strengthen and engage the global breast cancer community

UICC’s Breast Cancer programme is designed to respond to the urgent need to accelerate progress in breast cancer, which is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women and the leading cause of death from cancer in women. This comprehensive programme strengthens and engages the global breast cancer community, with the overall goal of contributing to the reduction of premature deaths from breast cancer and improving the quality of life of patients.

Why now? 

Despite advances and progress seen in breast cancer in recent years, current data highlight that breast cancer incidence and mortality remain the highest for cancer in women, and that this trend is only going to accelerate in the next 20 years.

Objectives of the programme

Leveraging established UICC Capacity Building programmes and convening platforms, the Breast Cancer programme aims to strengthen the capacity of key breast cancer actors to increase their impact and engage them in support of the WHO Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI)’s targets.  

Through a series of activities and opportunities, the programme aims to deliver the following key outcomes:

  • Accelerate the development of breast cancer leaders
  • Strengthen organisational capacities of breast cancer organisations, including patient groups 
  • Support the development of the health workforce in breast cancer 
  • Support national action on breast cancer in responding to key areas and needs in breast cancer control
  • Strengthen networks and collaborations in breast cancer at a national, regional and global level
  • Unite the voice of the breast cancer community, including patient groups, to advocate for more effective breast cancer control 

The programme builds bridges between a vast array of stakeholders (cancer organisations, patient groups, healthcare providers, private sector, governments and multilateral agencies) at regional and global levels to catalyse engagement towards the WHO GBCI targets, with a focus on action in low and middle income countries.  

Current activities

To achieve the above key outcomes, UICC is continually developing and offering new opportunities to support the breast cancer community, and provide a space to learn and share experiences, and evidence-based practices. Some key activities of the Breast Cancer programme (non-exhaustive) include: 

Driving national action to advance early detection  

UICC supports the launch of new projects driving national action to improve the early diagnosis of breast cancer. In 2022, four projects in advocacy, education of health care workers and patient navigation were completed in LMICs. Throughout 2023, 15 organisations, including universities, hospitals and civil society organisations, are being supported via a one-year grant to implement projects to improve the early detection of breast cancer. 

Impact of the programme

UICC supports the launch of new national projects to improve the early diagnosis of breast cancer through 19 projects funded in 18 countries. Through these projects over 45,500 women were examined for breast cancer and over 632,000 people reached by awareness campaigns and breast health information.

Learning to implement strong breast cancer programmes

In 2022, 64 organisation took part in the Master course "Good practices for planning and implementing breast cancer projects" to learn how to implement strong and evidence-based projects. During 2023, the course became self-guided to allow for learning beyond the live course. The course was built upon a dedicated Project ECHO® focusing on the Knowledge Summaries for Breast Cancer engaged 25 breast cancer organisations around the world for a period of six months with the objective to help them deliver stronger breast cancer control policies and programmes.

Convening the breast cancer community regionally and globally 

Breast cancer is a topic featured and addressed across all the major UICC platforms. As an example, in 2022/23, in conjunction with its members, UICC has organised a series of regional meetings, welcoming representatives of Ministries of Health, civil society organisations and technical partners, and supporting cross-sectoral discussions on women's cancers, in Francophone AfricaLatin America, and most recently Asia-Pacific to enable growing collaborations for integrated approaches for women’s cancers. Finally, Virtual Dialogues are organised to engage the wider breast cancer community virtually on key topics. 

In the 2022 World Cancer Congress, in addition to a wide array of sessions on breast cancer a workshop was held in collaboration with the WHO GBCI ‘Advancing early detection of breast cancer in resource-limited settings’. 

Advance national breast cancer control through advocacy

The Breast Cancer programme is supporting organisations in the development and implementation of their national cancer advocacy efforts through the Cancer Advocates programme. The most recent cohort will include six organisations with a specific focus on breast cancer in their national advocacy programmes. They will receive advocacy training and individual mentorship.  

Support the development of the health workforce in breast cancer

To strengthen the skills of individual healthcare professionals and share knowledge and expertise between organisations, breast cancer professionals have been supported through UICC's Technical Fellowships programme. Technical Fellowships allow individuals to visit another organisation for a period of up to two months to acquire specific skills or knowledge, for example in the area of public health or clinical service delivery. During 2023, a call for Technical Fellowships was opened for healthcare professionals engaged specifically in early detection. Further calls will be opened in 2024. 

“While the incidence of breast cancer is generally higher in more developed regions, the number of cases is rising in low- and middle-income countries and they are often diagnosed later, leading to more serious outcomes. The Breast Cancer programme is part of a broader UICC commitment to women’s cancers and will strengthen the capacity of key breast cancer actors in order to reverse these trends. This not only promises to prevent thousands of premature deaths but also contribute to greater equity in cancer care.”
HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan
HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan
Past President of UICC

A multi-partnership initiative

In line with its ambition to engage all actors from the breast cancer community, UICC’s Breast Cancer programme is a multi-partnership initiative gathering leading organisations from the private sector, development agencies and NGOs. The Programme is supported by Pfizer (Founding Partner), Daiichi Sankyo, Revolution Watch, the US National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health, Roche, Novartis and Susan G. Komen, in collaboration with the Breast Health Global Initiative, and WHO's Global Breast Cancer Initiative.

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives through the discovery, development and manufacture of healthcare products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines, as well as many of the world’s best-known consumer healthcare products. We work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. We collaborate with healthcare providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable healthcare around the world.

Daiichi Sankyo is a global pharmaceutical company with corporate origins in Japan. They provide innovative products and services in more than 20 countries around the world. With more than 100 years of scientific expertise, their company draws upon a rich legacy of innovation and a robust pipeline of promising new medicines to help patients.

Through the outstanding knowledge and commitment of their 15,000 employees worldwide, they create innovative new and generic medicines, and new methods of drug discovery and delivery. Daiichi Sankyo share a passion for innovation, as well as compassion for the patients around the world who are in need of their medicines.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training. The NCI coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.

Novartis Oncology is a global leader in transforming outcomes for people with cancer. We offer a wide range of innovative therapies to help meet patient needs and have one of the strongest, most productive pipelines in the industry. Our research is driven by a distinctive scientific and clinical strategy focused on precision oncology – understanding how cancer develops on a genomic level and developing drugs that hone in on those targets.

Susan G. Komen® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information. Founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life, Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

In collaboration with:

BHGI develops, implements and studies evidence-based, economically feasible, and culturally appropriate Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), to improve breast health outcomes and access to breast cancer screening, detection and treatment for women.

Founded in 1948, WHO is the United Nations agency that connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health. WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage. They direct and coordinate the world’s response to health emergencies. And they promote healthier lives – from pregnancy care through old age.

Read more

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Call for Applications for Project ECHO Breast Cancer Control Course, photo (c) Sarah Cervantes Unsplash

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Last update

Thursday 16 May 2024

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