Lack of exercise and unhealthy lifestyle are factors in the increase of breast cancer cases in Bahrain, says a specialist. King Hamad University Hospital (KHUH) consultant on breast oncoplastic and reconstructive surgery, general and laparoscopic surgery Dr Noof Al Shaibani took a medical seminar focusing on breast cancer awareness for Albilad staff members.

“We find that there is a rise in the number of breast cancer cases even in the younger generation with no risk factor. This indeed causes concern as the rapid increase could be contributed by the unhealthy and new lifestyle in addition to the amount of stress that people face” said Dr Noof.

According to the specialist, there is a five-year relative survival rate of 97% for breast cancer. Dr Noof further stressed that detecting cancer early can also lead to effective treatment and complete recovery. Breast cancer prevention begins with factors that each person can control such as weight control, ample physical activity, breastfeeding, healthy diet, discontinuing hormone therapy and avoiding exposure to environmental pollution.

“We are trying our best to do more campaigning and spread awareness. In my opinion, I feel breast cancer awareness must not to limited to only the month of October, rather it must pan out for the whole year. Each of us as individuals can also help in many ways such as spreading the word, passing out informative brochures or pamphlets” she added.

Reports suggest that earlier women over the age of 50 were prone to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but now even young women from ages of 20 -25 are treated for breast cancer. According to the WHO, there are about 1.38 million new cases and 458 000 deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008). 

During the month of October, Bahrain saw pink ribbon campaigns in full effect. Multiple workshops by community organizations and corporates in collaboration with hospitals sought to educate people about early detection and appropriate treatments.