Addressing the Breast Cancer Burden Facing Arab Women
In the Middle East and North Africa, women diagnosed with breast cancer have one of the highest mortality rates of any region in the world, according to the World Health Organization. As well, Arab women also are at higher risk of having more aggressive forms of breast cancer than women in the West, and also are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease at a younger age.
This is further highlighted by the reality that breast cancer globally is the second most common cancer in the world and, and the most frequent type among women.
As countries across the world mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month during October, it is important to understand the most common symptoms and most significant risk factors for the disease. This helps drive early detection which allows for a better chance for effective treatment. When the disease is caught early, survival is higher, more treatment options are available and a better quality of life is possible after treatment.
Regular breast cancer screenings is one of the most important ways to diagnose the disease at an earlier stage. There are several ways to check for breast cancer – including a clinical breast exam, a mammogram or a breast MRI.
All major medical organizations agree that women between the ages of 50 -74 should at a minimum have a screening mammogram at least every two years, complemented by a physician’s consultation. Women at higher risk should be screened at a younger age and more often than other women.
Among the most significant risk factors not associated with lifestyle include dense breast tissue, with women in this category having a four to five times higher risk of developing breast cancer than other women.
In September 2011, GE Healthcare launched an ambitious global campaign against cancer, committing $1 billion of its total R&D budget over the following five years to expand its advanced cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities, as well as its world-class technologies for the manufacture of bio pharmaceuticals and for cancer research. By the end of 2013, $526 million had already been invested, setting GE on track to meet its five-year commitment.
For more on GE Healthcare’s activities and efforts to support the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, click here.