SE Asia Breast Cancer Symposium

Since 2016, Global Focus on Cancer (GFC) has partnered with leading breast cancer clinicians and advocates across SE Asia and the world to act as co-founder/co-chair to the South East Asia Breast Cancer Symposium (SEABCS). This annual event brings together as many as 700 global and regional experts in the field of breast cancer including clinicians, policy makers, patient advocates and care partners representing as many as 17 countries to share the latest advances and techniques for both early and late stage interventions with a strong focus on improving capacity around breast cancer early detection, treatment, support and advocacy.

The program has been the catalyst for the building of an informal-regional coalition for women’s cancers in the region. Previous program agendas have included; advances in treatment, clinician capacity building, strengthening and expanding experience sharing among breast cancer support groups, the importance of collecting and publishing evidence-based data, regional coalition building, peer-to-peer support training, advanced breast cancer, advocacy and how it relates to civil society and policy makers, including best practices for working with governments to affect positive policy change. Our host countries have been: 2016 Viet Nam, 2017 Myanmar, 2018 Malaysia, 2019 Thailand, 2020 Postponed due to COVID 19, 2021 Indonesia – Virtual, 2022 Philippines and 2023 Viet Nam.

The First South East Asia Breast Cancer Symposium (SEABCS) was held in June 2016 in Hue, Viet Nam. The focus of this premiere symposium was to share the latest information and innovations surrounding breast cancer, improving capacity for breast cancer early detection and expanding and sharing experiences among cancer support groups in an effort to enhance patients’ understanding of the disease and improve their quality of life. The 3-day event attracted over 250 attendees representing 16 countries and provided participants with continued medical education (CME), experience sharing, patient advocacy and survivorship components, along with networking opportunities.

2017 SEABCS, “Comprehensive Cancer Care Continuum: Knowledge into Practice”, was held in Yangon, Myanmar. The event drew over 500 attendees from 16 countries. The symposium explored the challenges and specific opportunities in breast cancer around early detection, optimal care delivery, supportive survivorship programs and quality of life for women in South East Asia.

2018 SEABCS brought us to Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. With the theme of “Patient-Centered Care” and more than 350 attendees from 17 countries participating. Patient navigation, peer to peer support, oncology nursing strengthening and patient/clinician communication were among the topics and workshops.

The 4th Annual SEABCS was held in Bangkok, Thailand, Aug 30, 31 and Sept 1, 2019. It carried the theme of “Patient and Provider Empowerment” and had more than 225 attendees representing 14 countries.

SEABCS 2020 was postponed due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 virus, but was very successfully held virtually July 31 and August 1 2021 with our partner the Indonesian Breast Cancer Foundation acting as host and a theme of “Putting Patients at the Heart of Breast Cancer Control”. This virtual program to drew more than 1,200 attendees from 20+ countries.

SEABCS 2022 was hosted by our amazing partners, ICanServe, in the Philippines and was a hybrid event. With a theme of “Designing a Better Future for the Global Cancer Community” and more than 2,200 attendees representing 25 countries, this was our most successful Symposium to date! Here is a link to the recorded event.

SEABCS 2023 returned to where it all began, Hue City, Viet Nam, August 25-26, 2023. Partnering with the Bright Future Fund and Hue Central Hospital, this hybrid event hopes to reach an even broader audience. With a theme of “Breast Cancer in a Post-covid World; Lessons Learned and Pathways Forward” the event was free to all attendees as we strive for equitable access to cancer care and knowledge. Here is a link to interviews that the team at ecancer conducted with presenters and attendees.

International partners who assist in leading training/educational programs have included: the Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WE CAN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Breast Cancer Initiative (BCI) 2.5, Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI), Reach to Recovery, the Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) Alliance, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the World Health Organization and Worldwide Breast Cancer. At each of the past meetings more than 100 advocates have received training to improve capacity in their advocacy work. Training topics included: what is advocacy, experience sharing, lessons learned, peer to peer support, challenges and barriers, capacity building, measuring impact and fundraising. The symposium has also given advocates a chance to present on an international stage and provided them with tremendous networking opportunities.

SEABCS has also led to the formation of a regional coalition “task force” to produce a report on the current situation in each country and what efforts are being taken to downstage breast cancer at presentation, improve access to care and improve survival. The task force will be charged with developing pathways in order to share expertise across the region. Additionally, the coalition will choose data-based projects/interventions to be addressed across the coalition to be presented at professional conferences and published in relevant academic journals.

‣ABC Global Alliance
‣Alola Foundation
‣American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
‣American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
‣Art for Cancer, Thailand
‣Breast Cancer Society of Hue, Vietnam
‣Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia
‣Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI)
‣Breast Surgery International
‣Bright Future Fund -Quỹ Ngày mai tươi sáng, Viet Nam
‣Cancer Survivor’s Society Nepal
‣Chiang Mai University, Thailand
‣Hue Central Hospital, Viet Nam
‣Hung Vuong Women’s Hospital, Viet Nam
‣International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC)
‣ICanServe, Philippines
‣International Nursing Program
‣Kien Cuong Cancer Support Club, Viet Nam
‣LovePink Indonesia
‣Makna International, Viet Nam
‣National Cancer Society Malaysia
‣Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC)
‣Nepal Cancer Research Center
‣Philippine Foundation for Breast Care
‣Oncology Nursing Society
‣Queen Sirikit Breast Cancer Center, Thailand
‣Reach to Recovery International
‣Sihanouk Hospital of Hope, Cambodia
‣Suandok Breast Cancer Network, Thailand
‣Shwe Yaung Hnin Si Cancer Foundation, Myanmar
‣Taiwan Breast Cancer Alliance
‣Thai Breast Disease Society, Thailand
‣The Galen Center for Health & Social Policy, Malaysia
‣Union for International Cancer Control, (UICC) Switzerland
‣University of Malaya, Malaysia
‣Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WECAN)
‣World Health Organization (WHO)
‣Worldwide Breast Cancer

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Our Impact


Educational videos developed in 2 countries


Patients receiving support each month




Global partnerships