Breast Cancer Prevention in Kosovo

Understanding the Capacity Constraints and Identifying Policy Options for Prevention
PRS Briefs
Monday, May 24, 2021

The National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo reported 4,409 incident cases of cancer in 2018, up from 2,308 in 2012.1 Similarly, the Oncology Clinic of UCCK registered 1,483 cancer in 2018,2 including 340 new cases of breast cancer, up from 1,237 cases two years prior to that. Forty-eight percent of these cases of cancer seen at UCCK are detected at Stage III or IV, resulting in poor treatment outcomes. It is also important to note that this incidence is high despite the particularly young population in Kosovo in comparison with other countries, with a median age of 29.6.3 Therefore, because breast incidence increases with age, the burden of disease will only increase as the population ages and breast cancer will need to become a proactive focus of the health care budget.4
The Ministry of Health in Kosovo, in partnership with the National Board for Cancer Control, has invested in expanding clinical services to respond to its growing burden of cancer. However, they have identified prevention strategies as a gap in the current health policy domain. The main priority of the Minister is to identify key policy interventions that the MOH and the Government of Kosovo might undertake to improve the earlier detection of common cancers, specifically breast cancer. In partnership with Action for Mothers and Children (AMC), the Dartmouth Global Health Policy Lab team conducted a mixed-methods study to support the development of policy options for the earlier detection of breast cancer, specific to the Kosovo context.