Are the rates of cancer in the Arab countries in the Middle East the lowest in the world? .. The truth is here

Video duration 01 minutes 39 seconds

Social media users share a video entitled “Why do the Arab countries in the Middle East have the lowest rates of cancer in the world?”, How accurate is the information it provides?

We showed the video to Dr. Assem Mansour, director of the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan and one of the most prominent names in the field of oncology, both Arab and international. He gave Al Jazeera Net special statements.

Dr. Mansour said that the information in the video is inaccurate and the approach is not scientific. The video is based on correct information, which is that cancer rates in the Middle East are lower than Western countries, and the numbers he mentioned are correct or close to truth, but the rest of the things he mentions are not. related to logic.

For example, the topic of sugar and a cancer cell is not true, especially since in the same video he says that the population in the Middle East consumes a lot of sugar. Also about the role of fasting. It is true that fasting has great health benefits, but it has nothing to do with cancer, according to the picture claimed in the video, and a person fasts one month a year, so what about the rest of the months of the year? There are also non-Muslim countries, but the rates of cancer are few and similar to Arab countries, such as India.

The doctor confirms that fasting has well-known health benefits, but the claim that it is responsible for the decrease in the rate of cancer in this way is not true, and there are other factors.

Dr. Mansour said that the reason for the high rates of cancer in Western countries is due to several factors, namely:

First. aging

It is the main factor, as after the age of seventy the cancer rate becomes one in 3, and in Western countries the average life expectancy at birth is 82-83, while in most Arab countries the average life expectancy is less than 70 years.

Arab societies are younger and younger than Western societies, and this explains the low rates of cancer in them.

Dr. Mansour says that the most important factor for developing cancer is advanced age. For example, in the United States, the rate of cancer for those younger than 20 years old is 25 per 100,000, but this rate doubles 40 times, to become 1,000 cases per 100,000 after the age of sixty, and this indicates that age is the most important factor.

For example, in Jordan, the proportion of those over sixty is 4.6% of the population, but this category accounts for more than 60% of cancer cases.

Secondly. detection

Screening and early examination is the second factor that explains the high rates of cancer in Western countries. In the West, the diagnosis is better, and people live longer until they are diagnosed with cancer.

For example, in Western countries, the first cancer among men is prostate cancer, but in Arab countries it is not the first, and in some Arab countries its ranking is more than 5, 6 or 7, and in some countries it is more than 10. This is because there is no detection, and people do not live long Until they get prostate cancer.

Third. Accuracy in recording cancer cases

The doctor said that the accuracy of cancer registry varies from one Arab country to another, which is one of the reasons for the low rates of recorded cancer. As there may be deaths caused by cancer, but they are not recognized or registered as a result of the lack of detection or correct diagnosis, or the failure to register the case after its detection.

On the other hand, Dr. Assem pointed out that in many Arab countries, smoking rates are high, even among women in some countries, and therefore he sees that with the high life expectancy in Arab countries, and with the risk factors in our Arab societies such as obesity and lack of physical activity And smoking, the rates of cancer will rise dramatically in the Arab world, and during the next three decades it may become similar to Western countries.

Dr. Mansour stressed that the correct message that should be conveyed to the Arab public is that there are factors that increase the risk of cancer in Arab societies, some of which can be controlled and reduced, and this is important to reduce cancer rates, such as:

  • Smoking and the use of tobacco, which should be avoided, because it is responsible for many types of cancer.
  • Obesity, so individuals should be encouraged to reach and maintain a healthy weight, with the necessity of a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains – an essential part of the traditional Mediterranean diet – that contains antioxidants that help reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
  • Inactivity and lack of physical activity, therefore, care must be taken to exercise or physical activity as permitted by the person’s health, daily or 5 days a week, at a rate of 30 minutes per day, or according to the recommendations of the specialist doctor.

Dr. Mansour also stressed the importance of early detection of cancer, because early detection means diagnosing the disease in its infancy, which helps to treat it early and increases the chances of patients’ recovery and survival rates.

Dr. Mansour said that what determines the rate of cancer in any country is an interaction between several factors, some of which are genetic, some are environmental, and some are high risk factors in that country. Cancer is more frequent in some places due to risk factors or genetic predisposition to it.

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