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Keywords:

  • breast cancer diagnosis;
  • breast pathology;
  • breast health global initiative;
  • countries of limited resources;
  • quality of care;
  • breast pathology education;
  • implementation of pathology practice;
  • improved breast pathology reporting;
  • standardization of test results;
  • prognostic and predictive factors

Abstract

The quality of breast healthcare delivery and the ultimate clinical outcome for patients with breast cancer are directly related to the quality of breast pathology practices within the healthcare system. The Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) held its third Global Summit in Budapest, Hungary from October 1 to 4, 2007, bringing together internationally recognized experts to address the implementation of breast healthcare guidelines for the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment in low-income and middle-income countries (LMCs). From this group, a subgroup of experts met to address the specific needs and concerns related to breast pathology program implementation in LMCs. Specific recommendations were made by the group and process indicators identified in the areas of personnel and training, cytology and histopathology interpretation, accuracy of pathology interpretation, pathology reporting, tumor staging, causes of diagnostic errors, use of immunohistochemical markers, and special requirements to facilitate breast conservation therapy. The group agreed that the financial burden of establishing and maintaining breast pathology services is counterbalanced by the cost savings from decreased adverse effects and excessive use of treatment resources that result from incorrect or incomplete pathologic diagnosis. Proper training in breast pathology for pathologists and laboratory technicians is critical and provides the underpinnings of programmatic success for any country at any level of economic wealth. Cancer 2008;113(8 suppl):2297–304. © 2008 American Cancer Society.