Movember: UAE population to see higher rates of prostate cancer as expat residents settle down 

Doctors call for enhanced screening and early detection efforts as they foresee a spike in prostate cancer cases among the UAE’s ageing expat population in the next 30 years

Cases of prostate cancer, which is strongly tied to ageing, are expected to rise in the UAE in the coming years as demographics shift towards an older population, doctors told Arabian Business, calling for more screening this Movember.

These cases may well increase within the next 30 years as the UAE’s population demographics continue to shift. Currently, the UAE is home to over 9.5 million people with a median age of 33.5 years, though new visa initiatives are attracting residents across a wider age range.

Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer, according to the American Cancer Scoiety, and it is typically more prevalent in older men aged 70 to 75. Around 95 percent of patients are over 50 years old. At diagnosis, the median age is around 65, which indicates a strong association between age and incidence, Dr. Fathima Nubla, family medicine specialist at Abu Dhabi’s LLH Medical Centre, told Arabian Business.

Projections suggest that the UAE population could reach over 10.6 million by 2030, adding to the country’s future prostate cancer burden as more long-term residents face higher risk levels that come with ageing.

November, commonly referred to as Movember, is prostate cancer awareness month, and doctors across the UAE are mobilising to raise awareness on the disease as incidence continues to rise globally and the UAE’s population is not getting any younger.

Lack of regular screening leads to late stage diagnoses in UAE

In addition to raising population age, doctors note a concerning trend of late-stage diagnoses in the UAE compared to other countries.

A clinical evaluation of prostate pathology often entails a digital rectal examination, prostate-specific antigen test, and imaging in the form of ultrasonography or multi-parametric MRI. Depending on the results from the initial evaluation, further investigations like blood/urine biomarkers, prostate-specific membrane antigen PET scans, and targeted prostate biopsy can be done for a detailed work-up.

“Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, so by the time patients present with symptoms, the disease is usually advanced. If you can detect prostate cancer on a routine screening, the progress is much better,” added Nubla.

It is widely believed that men are less likely to go for check-ups or take care of their health compared to women. Which is why doctors face barriers in encouraging them to get screened more often.

Read More: Arabian Business

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