Journal Article

Burden of Breast Cancer and Attributable Risk Factors in the North Africa and Middle East Region, 1990–2019: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019


  • Azadnajafabad
  • S.
  • Saeedi Moghaddam
  • S.
  • Mohammadi
  • E.
  • Rezaei
  • N.
  • Rashidi
  • M.-M.
  • Rezaei
  • N.
  • Mokdad
  • A.H.
  • Naghavi
  • M.
  • Murray
  • C.J.L.
  • Larijani
  • B.
  • Farzadfar
  • F.
Publication Date

Background: Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women globally. The North Africa and Middle East (NAME) region is coping hard with the burden of BC. We aimed to present the latest epidemiology of BC and its risk factors in this region.

Methods: We retrieved the data on BC burden and risk factors from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 to describe BC status in the 21 countries of the NAME region from 1990 to 2019. We explored BC incidence, prevalence, deaths, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and attributable burden to seven risk factors of female BC, namely, alcohol use, diet high in red meat, low physical activity, smoking, secondhand smoke, high body mass index, and high fasting plasma glucose. Decomposition analysis on BC incidence trend was done to find out the contributing factors to this cancer’s growth.

Results: In 2019, there were 835,576 (95% uncertainty interval: 741,968 to 944,851) female and 10,938 (9,030 to 13,256) male prevalent cases of BC in the NAME region. This number leads to 35,405 (30,676 to 40,571) deaths among female patients and 809 (654 to 1,002) deaths in male patients this year. BC was responsible for 1,222,835 (1,053,073 to 1,411,009) DALYs among female patients in 2019, with a greater proportion (94.9%) of burden in years of life lost (YLLs). The major contributor to female BC incidence increase in the past three decades was found to be increase in age-specific incidence rates of BC (227.5%), compared to population growth (73.8%) and aging (81.8%). The behavioral risk factors were responsible for majority of attributable female BC burden (DALYs: 106,026 [66,614 to 144,247]). High fasting plasma glucose was found to be the risk factor with the largest effect (DALYs: 84,912 [17,377 to 192,838]) on female BC burden.

Conclusion: The increasing incidence and burden of BC in the NAME region is remarkable, especially when considering limited resources in the developing countries of this region. Proper policies like expanding screening programs and careful resource management are needed to effectively manage BC burden.

Kiel Institute Expert

Key Words

  • Breast Cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Risk Factor
  • Global Burden of Disease
  • Middle East
  • North Africa

Related Topics