Psychosocial support for breast cancer survivors: Supporting women
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer among
women in Ukraine. In 1998, approximately 14,600 new cases were
identified and nearly 8,000 women died. Because of the severe
economic conditions currently gripping post-Soviet Ukraine, medical
providers face great challenges in providing basic health care,
to say nothing of early detection services and optimal clinical
care for women with breast cancer.
In addition to the physical
toll that the disease takes, the psychological and emotional
needs of breast cancer patients are great but rarely are recognized
In 1997, the US Agency for International Development supported
a 3-year Breast Cancer Assistance Project to improve breast cancer
services for screening, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation
in Ukraine. Managed by the Program for Appropriate Technology
in Health (PATH), a goal of the program was to enhance the cost-effectiveness
of services within the constraints of existing facilities and
A pilot program comparing mammography with clinical
breast examination showed that screening mammography is neither
cost effective nor sustainable with Ukraine's current resources.
For now, Ukraine must rely on clinical breast examinations to
promote early detection. Through the Project, health professionals
learned about clinical advances in breast cancer treatment, received
training in mammography, needle biopsy techniques, and clinical
breast examination. Ukrainians trained in breast examination
have subsequently trained more than 1,500 health care workers.
In addition to addressing these issues in diagnosis and treatment,
the Project also focused on psychosocial support for breast cancer
[11/21/2001; Western Journal of Medicine]
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