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Saudi activists highlight breast cancer risks – and not just for women

RIYAD: Breast cancer has long been known to be one of the greatest health risks for women, with incidence rates of up to 30% in Saudi Arabia, according to some studies.
However, what is less well known is that men can also fall victim to the disease.
Although cases in men are rare, the disease follows the same path as in women, with breast cells growing abnormally, dividing rapidly and then spreading to lymph nodes and other parts of the body, often with devastating consequences.
The risks of the disease to women and men are highlighted during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is observed every October as part of an international health campaign.
Global events include marches and races, and the lighting of city landmarks in pink – the color used by activists around the world to highlight their stance against breast cancer. By joining the campaign, Riyadh’s main buildings were lit up in pink every night, while other cities in the Kingdom also participated in outreach activities.
Thirty female cyclists took to the streets of Jeddah dressed in pink to highlight the importance of early detection and treatment of the disease, and to offer support to survivors. The initiative was organized by the Al-Murjan investment group in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Health and the Brave Cyclist club.
The Saudi government and the private sector will also launch a series of initiatives, including educational exhibits, lectures, shopping malls, sports activities and mammograms to promote awareness of the disease.
Arab News, the region’s leading English daily, has placed a pink ribbon on its pole to highlight the important role screening plays in the fight against this devastating disease.
According to a 2018 World Health Organization report, the incidence of breast cancer among women in Saudi Arabia stands at almost 30%. The disease is more common in those over 40, the health ministry said.
Detecting breast cancer early can dramatically improve the chances of recovery in women and men, experts say.
Dr Osama Halaweh, hematologist and medical oncologist at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, told Arab News: “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it also occurs in men, although rarely. But awareness of the possibility is important. Since there is no screening for breast cancer in humans, it is usually detected at a later stage when the lymph nodes are involved.
Dr Amer Mahmood, associate professor and molecular biologist at King Saud University College of Medicine, said: “Breast cancer is rare in men and usually occurs in those over 60, but can sometimes affect men. younger. In the United States, about one in 100 breast cancer is diagnosed in men.
Common symptoms of breast cancer in men: breast lump or swelling, skin irritation or padding, nipple discharge, or nipple pain, he added.
Mahmood said that early diagnosis greatly improves the chances of recovery. Treatment usually involves surgery to remove breast tissue. Other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may also be recommended.
Although the exact cause of breast cancer in men is not known, several factors increase the likelihood of developing the disease, he said.
Some men inherit abnormal or mutated genes from their parents, which puts them at an increased risk of developing breast and prostate cancer. Other conditions that increase the level of estrogen in the body will also increase the risk of breast cancer.
However, male breast cancer is often overlooked. In 2009, advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in Men joined forces to make the third week of October Breast Cancer Awareness Week for women. ‘man.
Studies in Europe and the United States have shown that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Halaweh said the disease in women can be inherited in about 5% of cases, so genetic testing is important in determining personal and family risk.
“Currently, there is not enough knowledge about the causes of breast cancer, but there is knowledge of the risk factors that increase the possibility of developing the disease. Prevention and early detection therefore remain the cornerstone of the fight against breast cancer, ”he added.
Advances in the management of breast cancer include systemic therapies in which drugs are used to target cancer cells wherever they are in the body. These approaches include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drugs, and immunotherapy.
Mahmood said cancer is a universal public health problem and a leading cause of death worldwide, killing an estimated 9.6 million in 2018.
Breast cancer is by far the most common form, followed by lung cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. In absolute numbers, cancers in Islamic countries caused 1.02 million deaths in 2012, accounting for 17.4% of total deaths in low- and middle-income countries and 12% of cancer deaths globally, a he added.
Eating a balanced diet and losing weight with obesity can help reduce the risk. Increased body weight is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause.
Studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity can reduce the risk of breast cancer, Mahmood said.
The American Cancer Society recommends that adults do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week.

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