October is designated as breast cancer awareness month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease, early detection as well as treatment of this disease.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women worldwide, with nearly 1.7 million new cases diagnosed per year. This is the fifth most common cause of death from cancer among women with majority of death falls for developing countries with limited access to modern diagnostics and treatment. According to IAEA special report these countries are expected to shoulder around 70% of all cancer deaths in the next 15 years.
Today, the global burden of cancer is increasing at an alarming rate and presents a major public health and development challenge. By 2030, it is expected that the figures will increase to over 21 million new cases a year and 13 million deaths.
Sadly, in Zambia the annual mortality rate per 100,000 people from breast cancer has increased by 1.3% since 1990, with an average of 0.1% a year. Early monitoring programmes are of high importance.
Indeed, Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) executive director Kennedy Lishimpi said his institution has been conducting yearly Breast Cancer Awareness programmes since 1997. Dr Lishimpi explained that this exercise is critical because cancer is now claiming more lives than malaria, HIV, and TB combined.
With the help of a nuclear center of science and technology, projected to be built with Russian assistance, Zambia will be able to produce its own in-house radiopharmaceuticals in quantities needed to treat the vast number of patients. 
Global practice shows critical role of general nuclear medicine in the care of women with breast cancer including early detection and treatment.  
Radiotherapy and special radiopharmaceuticals are key components of nuclear medicine, however their use requires specialized personnel training and equipment handling.
To curb the growing trend in 2004 the IAEA and the Member States adopted a Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).  Jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and many others, PACT has worked to build a coalition of global partners committed to addressing the challenge of cancer in developing IAEA Member States.
This broad network of organizations supports countries to deliver greater access to cancer related health technologies, build skills and knowledge, and to raise funds to develop a complete range of services for cancer patients.
IAEA Member States also offer additional assistance. For instance, Russia offers students scholarships for its partner countries through Rosatom State Nuclear Corporation. Since 2010 the company has invested millions of dollars into scholarships for bachelor, masters and specialist degree studies through Russian nuclear universities. The project is aimed at supporting potential partner countries to create an integrated system for training qualified nuclear specialists with relevant knowledge in different scientific fields.
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