Review Study published in September 2015

Research Lacking on Women’s Cancers in Low-Resource Countries

Low- and middle-income countries see millions of cases of breast and cervical cancer each year.

But most research on preventing and treating these diseases is done in wealthier countries, according to study by Illinois Prevention Research Center (PRC) scientists and colleagues.

The authors, all from PRCs collaborating in a CDC global health network, conducted a scoping study of reviews of breast and cervical cancer in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that were published from 2005 to early 2015. They found a “limited evidence base” supporting control of women’s cancers in low-resource settings.

Here is an excerpt of their findings:

“Most review papers addressing breast cancer in LMIC settings reflect consensus statements, likely the result of a lack of research in LMICs from which to form systematic (or even non-systematic) reviews. The majority of reviews around breast cancer in LMICs are not based on research generated from LMICs themselves, meaning that best practices and strategies developed in high-income regions are forming the basis, through extrapolation and perhaps erroneous assumption, for low-income regions. While most of the cervical cancer literature targeting LMICs considered for this scoping study reflected reviews that did include at least partial data generated from LMIC settings, most were not systematic reviews from which to form summaries and recommendations. The majority of reviews included in each category (breast and cervical) did not provide a transparent description of methods; hence, findings and recommendations likely could be biased, or inappropriate, based on incomplete or non-representative reviews of selected studies.”

The paper was published September 1, 2015, in PLOS One by scientists in the CDC’s Global and Territorial Health Research Network.

The network’s coordinating center, which is based at the University of Rochester, wrote this news release describing the work.

Read the complete scientific article in the journal PLOS One: Developing the Evidence Base to Inform Best Practice: A Scoping Study of Breast and Cervical Cancer Reviews in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, by Margaret M. Demment, Karen Peters, J. Andrew Dykens, et al.

Learn about what Illinois PRC scientists are doing in the CDC’s global health network.


The map of women’s deaths caused by cancer in 2012 was created using the World Health Organization’s interactive graph.