A Qualitative Assessment of Breast Cancer Advocates in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru
Artunduaga, Maria Alexandra
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Breast cancer mortality is higher in low- and middle-income countries than high-income countries due to lack of awareness about the benefits of early detection and treatment, late-stage diagnosis and limited access to care. Advocacy and education are essential to addressing these underlying causes. We interviewed a total of 15 breast cancer survivors and advocates, and conducted a focus group with 12 advocates from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to explore local efforts and collaboration between advocacy organizations. We examined advocates’ perceptions of challenges across country contexts, socioeconomic status, and financial assistance to determine the state of advocacy groups in South America. Despite the participants’ diversity, we isolated four experiences consistent across countries: 1) Advocates observed patients’ mistrust around treatment of breast cancer and their role of advocacy in the context of disease; 2) poor data collection on the value of advocacy; and 3) lack of funding and political support hampered efforts to establish and maintain breast cancer advocacy groups. These themes could help informing an action agenda for regional breast cancer advocacy groups, and provide insight for policymakers, program planners, and advocates for improving breast cancer outcomes.
- Global health