Improving breast cancer care in Palestine: MAP’s latest medical delegation

This week, MAP is supporting the visit of a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer specialists from the UK to the West Bank as part of our continuing work to improve breast cancer care for Palestinian women.

Though breast cancer is now one of the best understood and most treatable forms of cancer, survival rates for women affected by the disease in the occupied Palestinian territory are low. Palestinian women living under Israel’s occupation face significant challenges to accessing adequate care, in part due to restrictions on freedom of movement for patients needing treatment and for health workers needing to travel for training and other professional development opportunities.

During the week-long mission, this medical team visited the MAP-supported Dunya Women’s Cancer Centre in Ramallah to assess diagnostic and care services. They also spent time at the Rafidiyah hospital in Nablus, where they held an outpatient clinic and performed surgeries for women with breast cancer alongside the hospital’s surgical team.

On Wednesday, they took part in the National Palestinian Conference on Cancer Prevention in Ramallah, headed by Dr. Asad Ramlawi, Deputy Minister of Health. Dr Anthony Maxwell, a Consultant Radiologist from Manchester, presented to delegates on the topic of diagnostic pathways for breast cancer, highlighting the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis which involves oncologists, nurse specialists, radiologists and surgeons. Dr Nabanita Bose, a Medical Oncologist from Scotland, also presented on improving treatment pathways for breast cancer. 

Also at the conference, MAP's Director of Programmes in the West Bank, Mira Mukarker, outlined MAP's role in supporting breast cancer prevention and care interventions in Palestine, on a panel discussion which included representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), UNRWA and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

This week’s medical mission is just the latest stage in MAP’s breast cancer project, which will, over the next three years, support local staff to help improve diagnostic, referral and treatment systems with the aim of improving survival rates for women across the occupied Palestinian territory.

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