Leading studies highlight earlier onset of breast cancer in the female UAE population

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Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

Younger women usually don’t think about getting breast cancer. Although breast cancer mostly occurs among women aged 40 years and above, with more sedentary lifestyles, deteriorating dietary habits, lack of exercise, work stress, and other factors that negatively impact modern-day living, the incidences of breast cancer in younger women have been on the rise in the past few years.

The UAE-based Friends of Cancer Patient (FOCP)’s breast cancer awareness and early detection initiative, Pink Caravan, has diagnosed more positive cases in women in the 25 – 40 years age group in the past three years than it did since it launched its pan-UAE awareness and early detection campaign, the Pink Caravan Ride in 2011, offering free breast health checkups and screenings to thousands of residents and citizens in all seven emirates.

In observance of the International Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the leading initiative has called on women – both citizen and non-citizen – to conduct regular breast self-examinations and also consider screening at an earlier age.

According to an opinion piece by UAE cancer experts, in the Journal of Cancer Prevention & Current Research, an increasingly younger age of onset (less than 40 years) of breast cancer in UAE population has been observed by the nation’s oncology community, who coined the term ‘Sunshine phenomenon’, to describe it. The study also highlights that with the earlier onset of breast cancer in the female UAE population compared with the female Western population, the current recommended starting age of screening for breast cancer must be adjusted based on the UAE local data rather than on international and foreign data.

Another article in the Springer journal titled Breast Cancer in the Arab World confirms that “the median age at the time of diagnosis of women with breast cancer in the Arab world is almost a decade younger than in industrialised countries such as Europe and the USA”.

Pink Caravan is offering free breast health consultations and clinical screenings to women throughout the month of October. Its mobile and minivan clinics will visit four emirates in total, namely, Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman, and women across the nation have been called upon by this leading campaign to go and get themselves checked.

The initiative’s information and support services are dedicated to younger women’s specific needs. To know more, connect with Pink Caravan’s experts, volunteers and a supportive community of people discussing a wide range of cancer-related topics @thepinkcaravan. The initiative’s strong community welcomes anyone and everyone diagnosed with breast cancer, concerned about a breast condition, or caring for a loved one affected by breast cancer.

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