Breast cancer has become the leading cause of mortality for women in Nicaragua, overtaking the incidence of death due to childbirth or cervical cancer. In Nicaragua, survival after breast cancer diagnosis is poor, mostly due to the late stage at presentation. A key to improving survival is to promote early detection of breast cancer.
Following the guidelines of the Breast Health Global Initiative, Global Partners began a comprehensive initiative to improve early detection of breast cancer in the rural areas surrounding Matagalpa, Nicaragua. They developed a breast cancer awareness training program for health care workers who provide services to women, including community health workers, midwives and nursing students.
They also have trained general doctors to use ultrasound for evaluating palpable breast masses and performing ultrasound guided biopsy if indicated. This has resulted in identifying several cases of breast cancer many months sooner than would have been possible previously. Global Partners continues to train general doctors in the region. With SonoSite providing low-cost ultrasound equipment, the impact of this health initiative throughout rural Nicaragua is increasing.