Breast Cancer Awareness
Oct 01 2018 By Dr. Katherine Morris - Consultant Family Medicine
Woman’s health is not just important in October, it’s important all year round. According to the Ministry of Health, breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women in the U.A.E. In an effort to raise awareness on early diagnosis, prevention and encourage regular screenings, the Ministry of Health has launched a month-long Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Program. The focus of the campaign is to educate and engage women on early detection, diagnosis, and prevention. This campaign is in line with the Government’s initiative to bring down cancer-related fatalities by 18% by 2021 and lessen the cases of non-communicable diseases by 2025.
Here are a few things you should be aware of:
Screening and Diagnosis
Currently, the best tool to combat breast cancer is early detection. Early diagnosis means that women have a better chance of survival and they can avoid drastic treatment. Here are some of the most common screening tools:
- Clinical Breast Examination
- Self- Examination
Who is at risk?
Although women of all ages are at risk, some women are more predisposed to get breast cancer than others.
- Age: Most breast cancers are detected in women aged 50 and above.
- Reproductive History: Women who had their menstruation before the age of 12 and menopause after the age of 55 are at risk of getting breast cancer.
- Family History: A woman is at risk of getting breast cancer if she has a mother, sister, daughter or multiple first degree members who have had breast cancer.
- Radiation Therapy: Women who have undergone radiation therapy to the chest and breast area before the age of 30 have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
Myths about Breast Cancer
Although over the years multiple campaigns have been launched to educate the masses about breast cancer, myths about breast cancer still exist. Here are some of the most common myths:
- Myth: Dairy (milk) causes breast cancer
Truth: Over several decades, studies have shown no correlation between dairy intake and an increase in the risk of breast cancer.
- Myth: If you find a lump in your breast you probably have breast cancer.
Truth: False! Only a small fraction of breast lumps are malignant. However, if you discover persistent lumps or any physical changes in your breast, it is important that you go for a clinical examination.
- Myth: Mammography induces/causes breast cancer
Truth: A mammogram is currently the best tool for early diagnosis. The radiation exposure from mammography is very minimal and the risk of harm is extremely low.
- Myth: Deodorants and Antiperspirants cause breast cancer.
Truth: False! Researchers have not found any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm deodorants and antiperspirants to breast cancer.
Diagnosis and prevention should not be exclusive to the month of October. Here is what we recommend:
- A monthly breast self-examination
- A clinical breast exam should be carried out every 6-12 months.
- If you are genetically predisposed, you could refer a genetic counselor
- An Annual Mammography screening
At GMCClinics our gynecology expert Dr. Natalia Snigireva
has 15 years experience in looking after the welfare of women and regularly arranges talks with women’s groups to discuss all matters relating to wellness. For appointment, call 04 393 2983.
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