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05.07.2018 | Global Breast Cancer (BO Anderson and C Duggan, Section Editors)

Palliative Care in the Caribbean Through the Lens of Women with Breast Cancer: Challenges and Opportunities

Current Breast Cancer Reports
Dingle Spence, M Austin Argentieri, Natalie Greaves, Karen Cox, Sheray N. Chin, Margo Munroe, Gemma Watson, Heather Harewood, Alexandra E. Shields
Wichtige Hinweise
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Global Breast Cancer



Across the Caribbean, too many women are presenting with advanced breast cancer and dying with little or no access to palliative care. No comprehensive assessment of current capacity to deliver palliative care in the region exists, largely due to limited data. We assess the challenges in delivering palliative care for breast cancer patients in the Caribbean, highlighting the needs and experiences of low-income women through emblematic patient narratives.

Recent Findings

There is an urgent need to improve access to palliative care and pain relief throughout the region. Challenges include insufficient healthcare infrastructures to support cancer care, tremendous unmet need for palliative care, pervasive opiophobia resulting in limited access to opioids for pain relief, patients’ reluctance to engage with clinical care, and the widespread use of complementary and alternative medicines prior to the acceptance of conventional care.


There is an urgent need to improve access to palliative care and pain relief for cancer patients in the Caribbean. Strong regional collaboration, provider and patient education, improved access to opioids, and innovative models for palliative care that reflect the culture and resources available in the region have the potential to measurably improve palliative care delivery.

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