The media sometimes reports on "new" or "innovative" breast cancer treatments discovered abroad. Some people are tempted by these reports to seek treatment outside the United States. However, while there are many promising, new treatments under study, there are also many hoaxes. Anyone in the U.S. should be cautious about traveling abroad for special treatments.
One reason people seek care outside the U.S. is to be closer to family or friends who live abroad. Social and practical support from family and friends is important in breast cancer care and can be a good reason to seek treatment abroad. (Learn more about support.) Most Western countries are equally good at treating breast cancer. However, quality of treatment varies in some parts of the world. If you are considering getting treatment outside the U.S., it is important to ask about the experience of the medical center and physicians providing care. You should also check whether your health insurance plan covers breast cancer treatment abroad.
Breast cancer research – combining data from around the world
Worldwide collaborations exist to study new drugs and approaches to breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment. For example, the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group studies the effectiveness of many breast cancer treatments, pooling data from more than 100 studies from the U.S. and around the world.