UAE's awareness initiatives help fight breast cancer

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UAEs awareness initiatives help fight breast cancer

Abu Dhabi - Death rates have however declined from 8.7 per 100,0000 women in 2009 to 5 per 100,000 in 2014.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

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Published: Sat 22 Oct 2016, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Sun 23 Oct 2016, 7:16 PM

With October coming to an end, breast cancer awareness has been at its peak around the country with various initiatives, campaigns and charities to support cancer fighters and survivors.
Although breast cancer is the most prevalent in the country, it can also be one of the most prevented, if early detection is taken seriously. Thus, awareness is vital, particularly when a layer of stigmatism and embarrassment continues to subsist.
According to the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD), of all the health cases, breast cancer comes at a whopping 22 per cent. Death rates have however declined from 8.7 per 100,0000 women in 2009 to 5 per 100,000 in 2014.
Dr Norbert Wilhelm Dreier, head of the department of oncology and hematology at Burjeel Hospital, highlighted that breast cancer is nevertheless on the rise in the country.

Major initiatives> Circuits on the Circuit saw hundreds of women clock up the kilometres at Yas Marina Circuit for a charity fitness event
> New York University Abu Dhabi's iconic dome has been lit up throughout the month
> The fundraising campaign ADCB Zayed Sports City Pink 5&10k Run' saw the participation of the Emirati contestant at Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Abudlrahman Alhosani, and thousands of others
> Free screenings provided by scores of hospitals
Dr Dreier, who moved from Germany to the UAE and was instrumental in building the Stem Cell Transplant Programme, pointed out that raising awareness on breast cancer detection could therefore help save countless lives.
"Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UAE and is also one of the biggest killers of women in the country, despite being one of the most preventable and curable of all major life-threatening diseases."
He noted that all women can check for abnormality, and the best place to do it is in the shower.
"This is the easiest way," he explained, "if you feel a lump or something odd, then you must see a doctor."
Dr Dreier said women should have a mammogram and ultrasound every two years from the age of 40. However, for younger women who are concerned, the doctor recommends an ultra sounds and an MRI.
Furthermore, there is a five grading system when it comes to the check up, he noted, adding that "level five is where we immediately take the lesion out." Nevertheless, it is also vital to keep an eye out on any symptoms, such as lateral discharge from the nipples, hard lumps, dumpling of skin, redness or inflammation.
The HAAD revealed that with the extent of awareness in the nation, late detection of breast cancer has declined from 64 per cent in 2009 to just 16 per cent in 2013.
"Awareness in the UAE is getting much better. We don't see as many patients hiding the tumours today as we did 10 years ago, but there still lays a certain stigma about breast cancer." Communities in the Capital have certainly taken up various initiatives to promote a greater and more dynamic awareness during October.
Dr Anandmayee Sinha, specialist obstetrics and gynaecology at Medeor 24x7, said that most women still feel embarrassed to conduct self-examinations.
"Sometimes, they are not aware and so do not examine on time. Nowadays, there is greater awareness but even then, a big chunk of women remains unaware what a small lump can mean."

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