With an endless list of daily obligations and priorities, it is not that difficult to get swept up in life and neglect self-care and health exam appointments
24 September 2019| Last updated on 7 October 2019
Health should always be your first priority. If you are a woman, this is really for you.
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women around the world, and its magnitude is high, particularly in developing countries where the majority of cases are unfortunately diagnosed in late stages. Regretfully true, the UAE is no exception; breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention. Constituting a significant public health concern in the UAE and with Arab nationals developing breast cancer earlier than in western nations, comprehensive and intense public awareness and educational campaigns across the whole country have been fervently launched to increase awareness about the importance of breast cancer screening practices and its fundamental role in the early detection of this daunting disease.
But is there a single reason for having breast cancer?
The answer is simply no! Various factors can affect your chances of getting breast cancer, such as age, family history, genetics, as well as the surrounding environment, and some of these are not within a woman`s control. Unfortunately, no one can predict who will get breast cancer, but surely certain steps can be taken to lower the risk.
Healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of various types of cancer and other health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Being physically active, preserving a healthy body weight, and maintaining a healthy diet with plentiful fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk of cancer. Beyond any doubt, this is good for your overall health.
If you are 20 years or older, it is truly imperative to routinely self-examine your breasts, not necessarily in search of a lump but to get used to the look and feel of your own breasts as every woman feels different. By being familiar with how they usually feel, you will be able to pick up any suspicious change and seek medical consultation accordingly.
Nevertheless, it is the early detection - through the use of proper screening methods - that is effective in helping find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. If breast cancer is detected early when it is still small in size and did not spread, there are effective treatment options and a much better chance for survival.
Screening mammograms can save lives!
Generally, all women above 40 years of age are advised to proceed for a screening mammogram every two years (annually in case of high risk such as positive family history). It is used to check for breast cancer in women who have no symptoms or signs of the disease. A screening mammogram can detect breast cancer while it is still small in size, and thus allows for more effective management and enhanced prospects of recovery.
A mammogram is a unique form of `low-dose` x-ray investigation used to produce detailed images of your breast. Globally, screening mammograms are currently considered the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer, when treatment is most effective. It can detect tiny breast lesions as small as a grain of rice before they are palpable by clinical breast examination, and approximately 1-2 years before being discovered by breast self-examination.
If you have any concerns as regards when to start your breast cancer screening or you have a positive family history of breast cancer, seek your trusted doctor`s advice and guidance so you can decide when it is ideal to begin your screening. Because of some existing discrepancy concerning breast cancer screening guidelines, your doctor will review with you various benefits and limitations to determine what is right for you based on your individual requirements, your medical history and your personal breast cancer risk.
Make `You` a Priority!
We encourage you to spare a few - yet extremely precious - minutes to schedule an appointment for your breast health consultation. Talking to your trusted doctor about the breast cancer screening program that is right for you can go a long way in helping you protect your health and well-being. Take control and help reduce your breast cancer risk!
The Dubai London Clinic and Speciality Hospital is dedicated to delivering reader-friendly and comprehensive educational information on breast health. We strive to spread the message of how important early detection of breast cancer is for improving outcomes, and to empower women with all the useful information for a healthy living. Share this to support our endeavours to reach more women during this breast cancer awareness month.