RIYADH, March 19 - Veiled women are protecting more than their modesty -- they are also less prone to nose and throat cancers because their veils screen out viruses, a Canadian doctor was quoted on Friday as saying.
Professor Kamal Malaker said women in Saudi Arabia, many of whom wear a full face-covering veil, suffered a low rate of the Epstein Barr Virus which causes nasopharyngeal cancer.
"The hijab (veil) is a protection against upper respiratory tract infection," the Saudi Gazette quoted Malake! r as saying. "In the kingdom, nasopharyngeal throat cancer ailment is very low among women as compared to men."
"It is interesting how a very simple social custom can have a profound effect on a human's life," said Malaker, head of radiation oncology at King Abdul Aziz hospital in the conservative Muslim kingdom.