Breast cancer in Mexico: a pressing priority

Felicia Marie Knaul, Gustavo Nigenda, Rafael Lozano, Hector Arreola-Ornelas, Ana Langer, Julio Frenk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is a serious threat to the health of women globally, and an unrecognised priority in middle-income countries. This paper presents data from Mexico. It shows that breast cancer accounts for more deaths than cervical cancer since 2006. It is the second cause of death for women aged 30-54 and affects all socio-economic groups. Data on detection, although under-reported, show 6,000 new cases in 1990, and a projected increase to over 16,500 per year by 2020. Further, the majority of cases are self-detected and only 10% of all cases are detected in stage one. Mexico's social security systems cover approximately 40-45% of the population, and include breast cancer treatment. As of 2007, the rest of the population has the right to breast cancer treatment through the Popular Health Insurance. Despite these entitlements, services are lacking and interventions for early detection, particularly mammography, are very limited. As of 2006 only 22% of women aged 40-69 reported having a mammogram in the past year. Barriers exist on both the demand and supply sides. Lobbying, education, awareness-building and an articulated policy response will be important to ensure expanded coverage, access to and take-up of both treatment and early detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Health Matters
Issue number32
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Mexico
  • breast cancer and screening
  • cervical cancer
  • health policy and programmes
  • socio-economic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Breast cancer in Mexico: a pressing priority'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this