UAE: Don’t delay breast cancer screenings, doctors tell women

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Mobile mammogram trucks will be stationed at various clinics in Abu Dhabi.
Mobile mammogram trucks will be stationed at various clinics in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi - There has been a rise in people dismissing symptoms amid the pandemic.


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 11 Oct 2021, 3:34 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 3:07 PM

Marking breast cancer awareness month, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) has launched a campaign urging women to get screened for the big C.

During the pandemic, there has been a rise in people delaying screenings and hospital visits, which led to late detection and reduced survival outcomes, Seha said.

Globally, breast cancer now represents one in four of all cancers affecting women. In the UAE, this big C remains the most common, with a total of 1,030 new cases diagnosed in 2020.

If found at the early stage, 98 per cent will survive, according to research.

ALSO READ: 3 studies to examine how breast cancer affects Emirati women

“We cannot stress enough the importance of early detection when it comes to overcoming breast cancer. Too often, we are seeing patients overlook and dismiss symptoms, resulting in a late diagnosis. The more diligent we are with screenings, the more likely we are to diagnose the disease early and treat it successfully,” said Dr Noura Al Ghaithi, acting CEO of Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS), Seha.

Preventive screening is available across AHS healthcare centres and Al Dhafra Hospitals.

For female patients above the age of 40 or those with risk factors, mammograms are available in multiple locations, including Al Bateen, Zafaranah, Madinat Khalifa, Baniyas and Al Muwaiji in Al Ain.

ALSO READ: Pink Caravan to offer free breast cancer screenings at 21 UAE clinics

“We recommend women over 40 to undergo regular mammogram screenings every two years. If you are in the high-risk group, please contact your physician and schedule a mammogram,” Dr Al Ghaithi added.

Residents have been urged to have open conversations with their doctors on when to begin tests; how to do the self-exam; and how to identify abnormalities like lumps.

Dr Khalid Saeed Balaraj, chair of oncology services at Tawam Hospital, reiterated that conducting regular self-checks and mammogram screenings is key to early detection.

“We urge women to discuss their personal and family medical histories with their healthcare providers to determine their likelihood of developing breast cancer, while continuing to look for changes in the breast, such as symmetry, size, skin tone and texture, discharge, tenderness, or pain.”

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

>> A new lump in the breast or underarm

>> Thickening or swelling of a part of the breast

>> Irritation or dimpling of the breast skin

>> Redness or flaky skin

>> Discharge other than breast milk

>> Any change in the size or the shape of the breast

>> Pain in any area of the breast

Individuals need to adopt a healthy lifestyle by exercising for at least 30 minutes daily, five days a week; keep their weight under control; and enjoy a balanced diet, doctors said.

Mobile mammogram trucks will be stationed at additional AHS clinics including Al Yahr Healthcare Center, Al Jahili, Al Towayya Children’s Speciality Center, Oud al Touba Diagnostic and Screening Center, Al Hili Healthcare Centre, Mezyad Healthcare Center, Neima Healthcare Center, Al Khatem Healthcare Center and Tawam Breast Care Center, and Al Wagan Hospital. These trucks will visit the clinics throughout the year.

Seha will be conducting multiple online webinars announced on official social media channels. To book a mammogram, call 800 50, schedule an appointment through the Seha App, or via Seha’s WhatsApp channel on 02 410 2200.

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