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ALARMING: Big jump seen in Bahrain cancer cases

Manama, February 8, 2014

By Frances Leate

Experts in Bahrain are bracing themselves for a major increase in cancer cases in the next 10 years, said a report.

An average of 500 people are diagnosed with the disease every year, according to the latest figures.

But the numbers are expected to grow significantly as detection rates improve due to technological advancements and unhealthy lifestyles.

It has prompted a call for Bahrain to create new laws to prepare for increasing cancer cases, as well as more screening programmes and awareness campaigns, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

Salmaniya Medical Complex hereditary diseases and tumours department chief Dr Fareed Khalifa, who released the figures, said despite the high figures cancer rates in Bahrain were about average for the Gulf.

"We can't reduce the number of people getting cancer in Bahrain, unfortunately the numbers are only going to increase over the next 10 years, but we can promote awareness and the early detection of these cancers which will improve people's chances of surviving the disease," he said.

Dr Khalifa said he would like to see more screening programmes but stressed people needed to be educated about the importance of attending screenings to detect cancer.

In 2005 the Health Ministry sent out 1,000 invitations to women for free breast screening, but only 27 per cent attended.

"We have to educate people first and this needs to be done through the media in order to make them aware of the importance of such screenings," he said.

The most common cancer affecting women in Bahrain is breast cancer, followed by cervical cancer.

For every 100,000 women living in the GCC, 70 women will get breast cancer. In men it is bowel cancer followed by lung cancer, said the GDN report citing experts.

Dr Khalifa said he expected to see the numbers of people being diagnosed with cancer increase in the next 10 years as unhealthy lifestyle choices grow in popularity.

"As the western world starts to impose more laws and regulations regarding tobacco and promotes healthy lifestyles more, it is expected to decrease in that part of the world, but in Third World countries like Bahrain, these laws have not yet been introduced so it will increase," he added.

Dr Abdulrahman Fakhro, from the Bahrain Cancer Society, said the government needed to ensure there were enough medical professionals and facilities to cope with the expected increase in cancer patients.

"The number of people with cancer is increasing and there will be 14 million cases worldwide in 2015," he said.

"The causes of cancers are still not known but a number of risk factors have been identified and this is why we need awareness campaigns to educate people about the dangers of things like smoking and not allow advertisements for smoking or alcoholic drinks," stated Dr Fakhro.

"We are fully aware that cancer has become fully prevalent and in Bahrain we need oncology departments with specialist medical staff and the facilities to deal with this," he added.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) cancer agency has warned there will be 22 million new cases of cancer every year within the next two decades.

In 2010, a WHO report showed that 12 per cent of all deaths from a population of around 1,261,835 in Bahrain were caused by cancer.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Cancer | Screening |

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