Saudi Arabia/World: Embrace Life


I must confess I just had a huge surprise.  I originally started this post stating Saudi Arabia was one of the countries with the highest death rate due to cancer.  But then I thought I better confirm that statement before sharing it with the world through the blog.  Good thing I did!  To my shock and surprise, the country ranking number one deaths due to cancer is Netherlands!  I’d never have picked that country as I think of Netherlands as a green and overall healthy country with health-conscious people.

Then I figured…okay, Saudi Arabia must surely be in the top five countries specific for deaths due to breast cancer.  After all, I do know that many women with breast cancer in Saudi Arabia are not diagnosed until at an advanced stage.  I’m wrong again.  The number one country with deaths from breast cancer is Iceland!

For heart disease, Slovakia tops the list, in case you were wondering.

But then I began to get suspicious about this site.  When I checked its stats for worse corruption, I realized not a single Middle Eastern country was listed.  So I decided I better check with another web site for statistics.

I decided I should check out the data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO).  If interesting, this link provides full data on a multitude causes of death in Saudi Arabia.

Finally, I went to this site to read its statistics on countries with the highest rate of death due to breast cancer.  Belgium and Denmark are ranked one and two respectively for most women who will likely have breast cancer.  Interestingly, Bhutan and Mongolia have the lowest rates in the world.  I question whether that is due to unavailable statistical data?

Now, why am I writing a post in the first place about death and cancer?  Yesterday I lost yet another dear friend who was a strong cancer warrior.  We were roommates multiple times when we both were due to receive infusions or chemo treatments.  Unlike me, she battled colon cancer.  I’m still in a semi-state of shock on learning of her death.  She is someone I looked up to and saw her as a great role model in how to be the best warrior against such an insidious and hateful disease.  Now there is an empty chasm in my heart and I’m still coming to terms with her death.  She was younger than me and had children younger than my own too.  My heart grieves heavily for the family as they now have to adapt to her absence.

These tragic and senseless, yes, senseless, losses only emphasize the need to not sweat the small stuff and truly embrace both life and each other.  Political, religious, ethnic and other differences are really quite minor when compared to the loss of a dear loved one whom one can never hug or laugh with again.  Think about it.  Now stop reading, get out there and just give anyone close to you a warm hug…because you can.


8 Responses

  1. Hi Carol,

    Those are really surprising results. I thought Belgium and Denmark were very health concious countries too. Oh well just goes to show your diet isn’t always a cause.
    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, please accept my deepest condolences. Unfortunately this disease doesn’t discriminate and when the battle is lost by someone close we cancer warriors feel it so keenly. I do think though there is a degree of why her or him, not me.
    In my own case I am to date a four year breast cancer survivor but when I was going through treatment my next door neighbour and the neighbour opposite both had colon cancer and were going through their own battles which after a hard fight they both lost. How can it be that I survived and they did not pull through?
    I am returning home to the UK tomorrow from Saudi for a three week vacation and you are right my children will have a huge hug at Heathrow and an extra hug for you.I will be thinking of you when I see them and your wise words will be ringing in my ears.

    Love and Best Wishes,


  2. American Bedu
    I admire your courage in the face of adversity. Can you email me your email address?
    I’d like to send you something to read as a way of thank you.

  3. Carol, I’m sorry for your loss. My condolences to her family. 😦

    Recently, I was afraid I was going to lose a loved one (not to cancer, though). It made me realize that all the things we’d argue about weren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things (although I’d thought they were before). I just wanted this person to stay in my life. Luckily, everything turned out okay, and I decided to make an effort not to argue about those things anymore because it wasn’t the best use of my time spent with this person. There’s nothing like almost losing someone to put into perspective just how much you love that person and how so many things just don’t really matter- even including some of the things that may seem important on the surface like work, school, finances, expectations, etc.

    Carol, I definitely agree with you that “losses only emphasize the need to not sweat the small stuff and truly embrace both life and each other”

  4. Oh, I’m so sorry you lost your friend.

  5. so sorry for your loss carol and big hug from us ..

  6. Carol, I’m so sorry.
    I think that healthy lifestyle has far less to do with it than the chemicals we are breathing and ingesting with our food. Pesticides, fertilizers are major components in high cancer rates. Poor people who can’t afford the chemicals are probably much healthier in many ways.

    Holland will be high in some cancers just because in general the Dutch are heavy smokers. It goes on and on.

  7. Carol, I think you are right to question some of the statistical data. It will be interesting (and sad if more negative result), for Asian women growing up and living in various parts of Asia will have increased breast cancer rates or not. I think with increased manufacturing, chemical processing in some of the Asian countries with lack of compliance to environmental controls plus farming in the quest for money, there are just more dangerous chemicals in soils, air and water.

    It is possible if it isn’t breast cancer for certain women in certain countries, it might be another cancer type that is more prevalent for a variety of reasons. Wait until China plunders and pollutes more of Mongolia then we might see something different among the locals there in terms of resulting diseases. Or if the locals change their diet alot.

    I tend to notice Asian women here in North America in terms of their physical health and how they look since it’s more appropriate for me to subconsciously benchmark myself against women with similar genes, childhood diets, etc. Over the past few decades in Toronto and Vancouver where there are large population bases of women of Asian descent, this is what I’ve noticed in my untrained layperson’s eye:

    a) Still women who appear slim/healthy weight. Either they have a good diet/exercise/genes. I think alot of those factors all are influential. They have been for myself so far.


    b) BUT now more younger Asian women who just look plumper /chubbier sooner in life..I mean in their teens or 20’s. What I do notice is:

    More fat around their upper arms, chest, bigger breasts and just looking chunkier for these young women. I rarely saw this 30-25 years ago of Asian women the same age in Canada. Noticeable weight gain tended to happen to older middle-aged Asian women into their 40’s and upward, especially if they had several children.

    Now that is changing…for the worse in my opinion.

    I attribute that to sedentary lifestyle, a diet that includes more pop, fast food, salt, sugar, etc. All of this increases probability of other disease later in life.

    I know I sound critical, but it is a concern. And recent medical studies are now stating increased obesity, diabetes, (not sure about cancer) among more Asians now than 20-40 years ago.

  8. By the way, just spend several weeks in major European cities and you will be dismayed by still the number smokers young and old among the locals.

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