Breast cancer is one of the major cancers in females in Palestine. Several factors are known to have an affect on risk of breast cancer such as age, cigarette smoking, emotional stress, hereditary and reproduction. The main goal of this study is to determine the major factors that are shared among women diagnosed with breast cancer in Palestine and whether these factors contribute to breast cancer risk development. The study was carried out through questionnaires that consist of more than 24 questions relating to the patient’s familial and medical history. The data was collected from the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) from reported cases attending treatment and counseling, starting from November 2007 to July 2010. 334 questionnaires were filled by the patients themselves or their immediate relatives. The data was analyzed using SPSS software. The things that characterize Palestinian women with breast cancer were studied. The age of the breast cancer patients was studied and the percent of cancer in each age group was compared with national proportions. The average age at the time of breast cancer diagnosis was 47 years with a wide age range among women. When compared with other countries, we noticed that the average age of diagnosis is lower among Palestinian women than it is in some other countries. The results showed that the patients had a family history of malignancy. Breast cancer has been 20.3 % in 1st degree relatives and 25.9% in 2nd degree relatives. Moreover, most of these women had mastectomy as they were diagnosed in late stage of the disease. The mean age at First Full-Term Pregnancy (FFTP) was 24.1 years. The age when women were diagnosed with breast cancer and age at FFTP is found to be not significant. However, the time since first birth and age diagnosed with breast cancer is found to be significant.
Although this study is only the beginning, it is a necessary step in recognizing if epidemiological factors have an impact on cancer incidence in Palestine. Keywords: Breast cancer, Risk Factors, Hereditary Cancer, Mastectomy, Palestinian Women, Augusta Victoria Hospital.