Breast Cancer as a Major Concern Among Iranian Women


Salman Khazaei 1 , Parvaneh Lak 2 , * , Shahab Rezaeian 3 , Somayeh Khazaei 4

1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, IR Iran

2 Department of OBS/GYN, Chamran Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

3 Social Development and Health Promotion Research Center, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences, Gonabad, IR Iran

4 Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan, IR Iran

How to Cite: Khazaei S, Lak P, Rezaeian S, Khazaei S. Breast Cancer as a Major Concern Among Iranian Women, Jentashapir J Cell Mol Biol. 2016 ; 7(4):e33420. doi: 10.17795/jjhr-33420.


Jentashapir Journal of Health Research: 7 (4); e33420
Published Online: August 27, 2016
Article Type: Letter
Received: September 26, 2015
Revised: April 4, 2016
Accepted: May 27, 2016

Dear Editor,

Breast cancer (BC) is the most common neoplasm in females around the world, and it has been estimated that about 41000 women die of this disease each year (1). Its prevalence in Western Europe and Northern America is between 8 and 10% while in Asian countries is approximately 1% (2). However, the rates in women living in developing regions are rising (3).

During the past decade, BC has become the most frequent malignancy among Iranian women (4). Based on the world health organization (WHO) report in 2014 (5), 14.2% of all cancer-related mortality among women in Iran (23300 deaths), is due to BC (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Cancer Mortality Among Iranian Women in 2012

Also, despite other cancers that have had a decreasing trend in mortality in the recent years, according to Figure 2, BC mortality trend is flat and has even had a slight increase among Iranian women (5).

Figure 2. Age-Standardized Cancer Mortality Trends in Iranian Women

In 2011, about half of the women, 15 to 64 years of age were overweight or obese and had low physical activity and only 2% of them had no risk factor (6). Therefore, the mean age is at least 10 years younger than women with the same malignancy in developed countries and a longer period of time is spent with the disease (5). Women with BC in Iran due to some cultural issues encounter many psychosocial stresses and physical problems (6), and unfortunately the role of husbands in supporting patients and fostering self-efficacy in Iranian BC patients is low (7).

In low and middle income countries including our country where BC is diagnosed in very late stages, early detection in order to improve breast cancer outcome and survival is the cornerstone of BC control (8). Mammography remains the main screening tool that can reduce the rate of death from this cancer by about 40% (8).

Self-efficacy affects quality of life of patients and their self-care behavior, but it decreases over time, therefore due to long term engagement among Iranian women it is recommended to increase the role of factors such as education (7), that have important effects on the level of self-efficacy in BC patients.

Employment is important for survival, through managing psychosocial tensions and economical aspects of the disease. Return-to-work can be considered a type of social recovery that enhances the patient’s life quality (9). Therefore, it is necessary for health policies to consider issues of return to work for these patients.


  • 1.

    DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: principles and practice of oncology-advances in oncology. 2010;

  • 2.

    Parkin DM, Muir CS, Whelan S, Gao Y, Ferlay J, Powell J. Cancer incidence in five continents. 2002; 6

  • 3.

    Harris JR, Lippman ME, Osborne CK, Morrow M. Diseases of the Breast. 2012;

  • 4.

    Harirchi I, Kolahdoozan S, Karbakhsh M, Chegini N, Mohseni SM, Montazeri A, et al. Twenty years of breast cancer in Iran: downstaging without a formal screening program. Ann Oncol. 2011; 22(1) : 93 -7

  • 5.

    Harirchi I, Karbakhsh M, Kashefi A, Momtahen AJ. Breast cancer in Iran: results of a multi-center study. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2004; 5(1) : 24 -7

  • 6.

    Maharlouei N, Ahmadi SM, B. Lankarani K. Report on the Second Iranian International Conference on Women’s Health Held May 1 and 2, 2013 in Shiraz, IR Iran. Women's Health Bulletin. 2014; 1(3)[DOI]

  • 7.

    Nejad ZK, Aghdam AM, Hassankhani H, Asgari Jafarabadi M, Sanaat Z. Cancer-Related Self-Efficacy in Iranian Women With Breast Cancer. Women's Health Bull. 2015; 2(2)

  • 8.

    Elmore JG, Armstrong K, Lehman CD, Fletcher SW. Screening for breast cancer. JAMA. 2005; 293(10) : 1245 -56 [DOI][PubMed]

  • 9.

    Azarkish F, Mirzaii Najmabadi K, Latifnejad Roudsari R, Homaei Shandiz F. Factors Related to Return to Work in Women After Breast Cancer in Iran. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2015; 17(9) : 19978 [DOI][PubMed]

  • Copyright © 2016, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.