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BioResearch Open Access

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© Zainab Taha and Sakina E. Eltom 2018. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among Arab women in Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). The incidence of breast cancer has substantially increased in recent years among this women population, especially those younger than 50, and the incidence is expected to double by 2030. Considerable experimental evidence supports the potential role of dietary habits and lifestyle in cancer etiology and cancer prevention. In this review we examined the literature for evidence to link dietary choices and the rise in incidence and mortality of breast cancer among women in EMR. A literature search was conducted in PubMed and Ovid MEDLINE databases up to December 2017. The search terms used are breast cancer prevalence, breast cancer incidence worldwide, breast cancer and: nutrition, protein intake, Vitamin D intake, fat intake, phytoestrogens, EMR, Arab, Middle East, Gulf countries, the UAE Arab women, breast cancer risk, diet, and chemoprevention. We found evidence to suggest that there is an alarming epidemic of obesity among women in most of the EMR countries, especially Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The rise in the new breast cancer cases among women could be attributed to excess body weight. Their dietary pattern, which correlates with obesity, can be an important factor in the etiology of cancer. Although very few studies were found to support a direct causal relationship between obesity and breast cancer in the EMR, circumstantial evidence clearly points to the possible role of the epidemic, obesity, in this population and the startling rise in cases of breast cancer. Well-designed and systematic studies are urgently needed to confirm these associations and to elucidate potential mechanisms. More urgently, calls to action are needed in many sectors and at all levels of society, to establish intensive strategies for reducing obesity and promoting an overall healthy diet. Continued and expanded research on diet, lifestyle, and breast cancer risk is urgently needed to build the foundation for future progress in evidence-based public health efforts.




Mary Ann Liebert Inc.





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Life Sciences


Arab women, Breast cancer, Chemoprevention, Diet, Middle East, Nutrition

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Open Access


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Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series

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Life Sciences Commons