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Data Viz: Awareness, Affordability and Access to Breast Care in Developing Countries

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A new data visualization from GE Healthcare compares the health burden of breast cancer, the trends in diagnoses through routine screening and the cost of national screening programs in China and India with the United States. To enlarge this data visualization, click here

The fight against cancer has a long way to go. World Cancer Day is marked annually on February 4th and proves a broad international determination to beat the disease and develop ever better ways to detect and cure.

GE Healthcare remains committed to the fight against the disease, and continues to play its part, as an organization and member of the international community. 


Affordability & Access to Breast Care

Increasing awareness, affordability, and access to breast care is critical in developing countries. 

A new data visualization from GE Healthcare looks at these three issues, comparing the health burden, the trends in diagnoses through routine screening and the cost of national screening programs in China and India with the United States.

The incidence of breast cancer is higher in the US than in developing countries. Yet, it is the most common cancer among women in developing regions and is expected to increase at a faster rate.

In major Indian cities, women aged 40 or older are advised to have mammograms at least every two years, which is similar to the guidelines in most Western countries. Surveyed physicians estimate that only 16% of cases are currently diagnosed through screening but that this rate will increase dramatically to 27% in five years and to 41% by 2018. 

However, mammography availability is limited in India because of the shortage of facilities and well-trained staff. The high cost of screening is also a major factor.

In China, on average only 25% of patients are currently diagnosed with breast cancer in the three major Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou) are identified through routine screening. Surveyed physicians foresee that screening practices will change dramatically in the next five to ten years and estimate that in 2018, the percentage of patients identified through routine screening will more than double to 54%.

Physicians in Shanghai reported much higher routine screening than in the other two cities. A possible reason for this difference is that the incidence of breast cancer in Shanghai is rising quickly. Thus, breast cancer has garnered more attention from the general population in Shanghai in the past two years. 

The high cost of mammograms and scarcity of well-trained staff to interpret results, particularly in community-based and rural hospitals, are cited by physicians as the primary limiting factors for routine mammography screening in China. In addition, physicians comment that the fear of radiation among Chinese women limits the popularity of mammography screening. 


Investing in Oncology Innovation 

As part of its commitment to invest $1B in oncology research and development by 2016 to enhance the quality and affordability of healthcare, GE Healthcare has recently launched a series of new, innovative technologies  and solutions to help advance cancer diagnostics, molecular imaging and the patient experience.

One such innovation is SensorySuite which aims to improve patients experience by providing a customized environment involving sight, smell and hearing during a mammography examination.

The innovation was developed based on several studies showing why women avoid yearly mammograms as well as insights from GE’s ‘For Women by Women’ project that invited designers, patients, students and thought leaders to brainstorm new and inventive approaches to mammography.

A recent GE Healthcare data visualization on patient experience and breast cancer reveals why women may avoid regular mammograms, what variables can affect patient pain levels during a scan and what hospitals can do to improve patient experience.

Compliance rates for yearly mammograms have long been an issue. One of the main reasons women avoid routine mammograms is fear that the process will be painful; however in one survey 43% of women said that their first mammogram wasn’t painful. One in every four women avoids mammograms because of worry and fear , and less than 70% of women in the U.S. 40 and older have had a mammogram in the last two years.
 

Mammography

Mammography availability is limited in India because of the shortage of facilities and well-trained staff.