Incidence of Breast Cancer in Bangladesh

November 26th, 2015 in International News

by Anisur Rahman Forazy, Begum Rabeya Khatun Chowdhury Nursing College, Sylhet, Bangladesh.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women in Bangladesh. It has become a hidden burden which accounts for 69% of cancer death in women1. In Bangladesh, the incidence rate of breast cancer was about 22.5 per 100000 in females2; Breast cancer has been reported as the highest prevalence rate (19.3 per 100,000) among Bangladeshi women between 15 and 44 years of age when compared to other types of cancer. Cervical cancer ranked second for this group of women, with a prevalence rate of 12.4 per 100,000 in 2008-2010. An increase in incidence rate has been reported due to lack of disease awareness, lack of confidence about medical treatment, improper screening tests and maltreatment of early metastasis3.

Furthermore, patients are kept away from cancer treatment due to poor socio-economic infrastructure, social stigma of the disease and fear of the cancer treatment. The results of the maternal mortality survey conducted by the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital in Bangladesh (2010) showed that 21% of total number of death among women between 15 and 49 years of age was due to breast cancer.

Apparently, breast cancer is becoming a major public health concern of the Bangladesh government, which is evidenced by the establishment of the National Institute of Cancer & Research Hospital, Bangladesh. A study conducted in the northern part of Bangladesh named Khulna Division in 2007 – 2008 showed that 87% of new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed as stage III+, where cancer has spread to other parts of the body. The treatment options were limited and very expensive, especially in a low-resource country such as Bangladesh. The main possible reason is lack of public awareness for early detection of cancer, which reflects the actual situation in rural areas of Bangladesh.

Qualified specialty nurses are important as they play a vital role of providing holistic care to patients with cancer. Therefore, there is a strong need of developing a crash programme to prepare competent nurses, who should have knowledge of prevention and early detection of cancer, how to develop and implement an effective care plan, and counselling techniques. As we know, breast cancer in particular, can be treated effectively if detected early. Therefore, there is an urgent need of preparing Bangladesh nurses to take care of cancer patients as well as take part in cancer prevention and early detection of cancer.


  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer (2008). GLOBOCAN 2008: Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide.
  2. Uddin A.F., Khan Z.J., Islam J., & Mahmud, A. (2013). Cancer care scenario in Bangladesh. South Asian Journal of Cancer, 2(2), 102-4.
  3. Editor (2013, October 9). Feature, Femina. The Daily Star.

Reflections on ICCN 2015 – A Scholarship Recipient’s Perspective

November 12th, 2015 in Conference Features

by Agatha Ogunkorode, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.

A reflection of what I learnt during the ICCN 2015 and how I will share my experiences and newly acquired knowledge with my colleagues.

I thank the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care for giving the scholarship to me which enabled me to attend the ICCN 2015 in Vancouver, Canada from the 7th-11th of July 2015 and meet seasoned and experienced nurse scholars. Listening to experts in cancer nursing care in many settings and diverse backgrounds was a great encouragement to me. These experts started in small ways, and they grew up to be an expert. They built teams and helped not only to alleviate the sufferings and pains of cancer patients. They also empowered others to grow personally and professionally. I feel that I am called to do the same.

There is a need for international collaboration in cancer nursing so as to import best practices from one region of the world to the other. This becomes very important because people of the world are not all on the same level. An important global research question cannot be answered locally but can be addressed through international collaborations.. Meeting people with similar research interest is important and attending this conference enables cancer nurses to build partnerships and networks for future collaborations. The conference presented various cancer nursing researchers and research ideas. It presented ideas and insights into cancer nursing that can be integrated and applied in other settings. After I attended this conference, I am empowered to play a vital role in relieving the cancer burden using a global and multidisciplinary perspective. I have learnt valuable lessons at the conference such as challenges of international research collaboration.  I have learnt the importance of understanding the value systems of the people we want to collaborate with;  anddifferences of the health care delivery system across the countries that might impact on the collaboration efforts and research outcomes.

I was privileged to  be part of the global conference and I look forward to working together with nursing experts from across the world to strengthen collaboration and ensure that the collaboration have a positive impact on the lives of my patients and the local community from which I come from. I was reminded that the skills learned in each study will help to make the next project easier. Therefore, I need to be clear about what I am determined to do, to be patient, to have courage to ask hard questions, to have a mentor, to involve others, not to be discouraged but to persevere. Some conference participants reminded us that it gets easier as one continues to practice. The experts also encouraged us to publish our studies. The main reason is because the research work is considered not done if it is not shared.

I am very grateful to be a participant at this very important conference. I thank my supervisor, Dr. Lorraine Holtslander a Professor of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, who encouraged me to join the conference and ensured that I was able to attend.

ICCN 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Save the date!