Assessment is first to measure breast and cervical cancer landscape in Zambia

The assessment, co-published by UNC Lineberger member and professor of gynecologic oncology Groesbeck Parham, MD, not only identifies the roadblocks to treatment, but also provides a path to overcoming them.

Assessment is first to measure breast and cervical cancer landscape in Zambia click to enlarge Groesbeck Parham, MD

UNC Global Women's Health faculty Drs. Carla Chibwesha and Groesbeck Parham recently published the first detailed assessment of the breast and cervical cancer landscape in Zambia, outlining ways to improve cancer prevention, screening, and treatment that may serve as a model for other underserved regions.

"A Comprehensive Assessment of Breast and Cervical Cancer" – funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation and produced by the African Centre of Excellence for Women's Cancer Control – identifies the barriers to improving cancer treatment and prevention in Zambia and provides real long- and short-term solutions to overcoming those barriers.

"If we are to significantly improve cancer care in sub-Saharan Africa we must first quantify the existing gaps in care and treatment," said Dr. Parham. "This survey produced data that will now be used for constructing innovative health care service delivery and training platforms that can thrive in low-resource environments – in Zambia, other countries in the region and in developing nations around the globe."

Read the Komen press release  See the publication

The survey was designed and led by Dr. Chibwesha, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology who has worked in Zambia since 2009. Dr. Parham, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the only gynecologic oncologist in Zambia, provided strategic leadership for the project. Dr. Parham has lived and worked in Lusaka since 2005, where he established the Cervical Cancer Prevention Program in Zambia and founded the African Centre of Excellence for Women's Cancer Control.

Also serving on the survey team from the Division of Global Women's Health were Drs. Allen Bateman and Claire-Helene Mershon, fellows in the division. UNC Lineberger also collaborates with Drs. Chibwesha and Parham and their colleagues on cervical cancer prevention initiatives in Zambia.