The 19th of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Day, an annual international health campaign organized by healthcare institutions and organizations worldwide to increase awareness of this disease which is the most common cancer in women across the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Mexico the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) launched Mi lucha es rosa, its institutional strategy to promote national cancer prevention actions for the month.
In Mexico, there were approximately 6,000 deaths due to breast cancer in 2014 from the 38,000 total deaths due to cancer in women, according to the WHO. Breast cancer is increasing in developing countries where most of the cases are detected in late stages, said WHO statistics. The lack of prevention and education causes 70 percent of the 23,000 breast cancer cases diagnosed in Mexico every year to be at a point where the disease is advanced, according to INCan. The institute facts also indicate that breast cancer is the main cause of death in Mexican women of reproductive age.
Official statistics show that the mortality rates for breast cancer rise according to age. Of every 100,000 women aged 83 years or older that died in 2013, 63 did so because of the disease, while the number dropped to 14 out of every 100,000 for women between 25 to 44.
In 2013, Coahuila had the highest mortality rate for breast cancer followed by Mexico City and Nuevo Leon. In 2013, the capital was the place where the most mammograms where done with 29 percent of the country’s total, while Coahuila accounted for only 2 percent.
IMSS Director General Mikel Arriola highlighted early in October that IMSS has increased the practice of mammography from 1 million in 2012 to 1.3 million in 2016 so far. He added that mortality rates for breast cancer have decreased by almost 19 percent. A mammography can detect cancer at early stages, where it is possible to see 90 percent survival rates. Additionally, there will be an investment of MX$360 million for purchasing mammogram machines in the upcoming two years, according to IMSS.
To encourage awareness in Mexico, the NOM- 041-SSA2-2011 promotes prevention, diagnosis, treatment, control and epidemic vigilance of breast cancer. This norm sets out three measures for prevention: it advises self-examination for women aged over 20, a breast clinic exam from age 25 onwards and a mammogram every two years from age 40 to 69.
Ministry of Health