Breast Cancer Cases Among Women In Hong Kong Increasing

Armen Hareyan's picture

The number of breast cancer cases among women in Hong Kong increased from 1,152 in 1993 to 2,273 in 2004, the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation announced Thursday, China Daily/ reports. According to the World Health Organization,Hong Kong has a breast cancer incidence of 47.5 cases per 100,000people, compared with 23.8 cases per 100,000 people recorded indeveloping countries and regions.


Polly Cheung, founder ofHKBCF, said women in Hong Kong have a high incidence of breast cancerin part because women in the city have been consuming large amounts ofanimal fat, which contributes to the onset of the disease. In addition,women often are overexposed to light at night, which can suppressmelatonin -- a sleep-regulating hormone that is known to repress thegrowth of cancer cells, Cheung said. She added that women also aredelaying pregnancy until after age 35, which increases the risk ofdeveloping the disease (Ho, China Daily/, 9/21).

Accordingto HKBCF, breast cancer was most common among women in their 40s, butan increase in incidence among younger women in the city over the lastdecade indicates that women should be more proactive in screening forthe disease. According to an HKBCF survey of 809 women, 71% did notcarry out regular monthly self-examinations of their breasts (Li, South China Morning Post,9/21). In addition, 46% of the participants said they were unawarescreening was important for early detection of breast cancer, and 72%of women ages 40 to 59 said they had never had a mammogram (ChinaDaily/, 9/21).

To raise awareness of the disease,HKBCF on Thursday launched a peer education campaign, called "BreastFriend Training Workshop," that targets women in the corporate sectorby appointing "breast friend ambassadors" within companies. Thefoundation also launched a campaign that will work with secondaryschool students to advocate healthy living to lower the incidence ofthe disease (South China Morning Post, 9/21).

Reprinted with permission from You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.