According to the clinical studies, the genetic factor is the cause of only 5-10% of breast cancer cases while 90% of the cases are not related to heredity, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sought to raise awareness of the public about cancer and its causes, treatment, prevention and how it can be detected early.
What are the Kingdom’s efforts to confront breast cancer?
- Rejecting old customs, magic, sorcery, evil eye and any other reasons that people were thinking of them as the causes of any chest disease in the old periods of time among women in particular. This is why the Kingdom has been keen to establish a variety of campaigns aimed to raise public awareness about the risks of breast cancer and the necessity of rejecting those old customs and resorting to the competent doctor before the patient’s condition declines, 90% of women arrive at the hospital in a late state after the disease has spread to their bodies as a result of resorting to the treatment with traditional medicine, while the disease is physical and can be diagnosed by modern techniques.
- Early detection campaigns, directing campaigns to the remote areas that lack proper healthcare to conduct medical examinations for women in those areas and encourage them to have periodic consultations. Also, these campaigns meant to teach women about breast cancer and its symptoms, and how they can detect it in home and resort to the competent doctor in the case of any complaint. 30% of the patients were in the third stage of the disease, in the advanced stage when they visited the doctor for the first time, cancer had been spread to liver and lung in 20% of the patients, and that is what the kingdom is trying to avoid by raising awareness of clinical symptoms and self-disclosure.
- Raising awareness of the possibility of healing, some patients believe that it is a fatal disease and so they avoid taking chemical and radiation treatments for their fear of hair loss before death in their beliefs, but when patients begin to know that the disease can be cured after the medical follow-up, their worries will go away and many of them will accept to receive the treatments after they realized that the treatment, even with the side effects like hair loss, because they knew that their hair will regrow again after recovery.
- Using modern communication methods, social platforms and participation in campaigns that launched by the Kingdom or the health organization during the month of awareness of breast cancer, these ways made the access to target groups more extensive and comprehensive by covering many different ages and regions across the Kingdom with a lower cost compared with previous campaigns. The using of social media platforms as a way of communication enhanced the awareness and positive outlook of this disease, having previously been a disease that is untreatable and cannot be cured.
- Mental and psychological support. The Kingdom provides specialists in psychological support for patients with cancer in general and breast cancer in particular to explain it to them and increase their acceptance of the disease and their family. This psychological support plays an important role in the acceptance of the body and the person for treatment.
- Breast-feeding. All breastfeeding studies suggest that breast-feeding and pregnancy reduce the risk of breast cancer. Therefore, the Kingdom encourages women to breastfeed and show benefits for both mothers and children. Breast-feeding campaigns are also help to confront breast cancer.
- Modern medical devices availability, such as three-dimensional imaging devices that help to identify the exact location of the tumor and give a clearer picture of the diseases.
- Encouraging students to volunteer and provide proper places for them. We have seen this in various initiatives in which students are encouraged to conduct volunteer campaigns for breast cancer patients in order to promote the early detection of the disease.
- Participation in international conferences. The Kingdom, represented by the Ministry of Health is interested to know what the modern science has reached regarding breast cancer. Also, the Kingdom participates in the conferences and held them on its land. The conferences are based on the modern vision that the Kingdom envisions for its progress in all fields. These conferences enhance the public vision of the need to strengthen community service, advance the medical field and encourage doctors to cope with the global development of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- Encouraging hospitals to invest in the field of breast cancer. Encouraging investment in this field enhances the modern development by increasing the available treatment opportunities in the Kingdom, speeding up treatment and discovery of the disease, in addition to its material revenues to the Kingdom and reflecting on increasing its ability to provide other services.
Breast cancer is the second most prevalent disease in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, accounting for 26% (about one third) of the general rate of all cancers in women. In recent years, the number of recovering patients has increased as a result of the improvement in public health awareness and the particular demand of women for counseling and treatment. The number is expected to rise to between 1000-1500 new cases in next year.
The following links of The Saudi Ministry of Health (Arabic Source):
Al-Kamel Hospital Implements Several Community Initiatives
The Kingdom hosts the Breast Cancer Update Conference
Increased chemical treatment sessions in Najran