Got questions about breast cancer? Here are 10 quick facts about breast cancer in Dubai, as answered by an expert at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital
4 October 2020| Last updated on 5 October 2020
Mediclinic weighs in on everything breast cancer, including how to self examine, what are the risk factors, and the truth about getting a mastectomy
As breast cancer cases continues to rise, patients increasingly start looking out for information about their symptoms and treatment online. There is already a myriad of online resources and it’s a huge challenge to narrow down best for one's specific individual needs.
There is also way too much social communication in healthcare and it is difficult to follow and filter information. Unfortunately, this information available online can be extremely confusing for the patients.
These 10 simple FAQs about breast cancer have been devised by Consultant Breast Surgeon Dr. Archana Shetty at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital in Dubai, keeping in mind the most common and relevant questions that a patient and their relative need to discuss as they are go through this difficult journey
1. How common is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, impacting 2.1 million women each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide.
2. What are the risk factors for breast cancer?
Majority of the cases are sporadic (random) with no identifiable cause, but some of the known risk factors of breast cancer are:
- Age - Incidence increases after 40 years of age, though we do see them at a younger age as well
- Previous history of breast cancer
- Reproductive history
- Strong family history of breast health issues
- Genetic abnormality
- Postmenopausal obesity
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Previous radiotherapy
- Excessive alcohol and smoking
3. What does “being breast aware” mean?
"Being breast aware” means looking after the health of your breasts as you do for the rest of your body, i.e regular self examination.
It can be explained in a 5 step rule of self examination to be done once a month, after your periods.
- 1. Know what is normal for you
- 2. Look and feel your breasts (upper chest and armpits too)
- 3. Know what changes to look for
- 4. Report any changes without delay
- 5. Make sure you get your regular screening mammograms if you’re 50 years old and above
4. What abnormalities do I have to look for?
- Any obvious lumps in breast, armpits or above the collar bone
- Skin thickening
- Dimpling of the skin
- Nipple inversion
- Spontaneous/ bloody nipple discharge
- Rash around the nipple
- Change in the shape or size of the breast
- Red scaly patch of skin
- Bony pains, jaundice, shortness of breath, abdominal distension
5. What if I find something abnormal?
Report it immediately to your doctor.
Most of the time, it will be non cancerous, but needs checking out by an expert.
6. How often should one have a mammogram?
Every year from the age of 40. Younger women can opt for ultrasonography done at a good centre. For compassionate and accurate care, Mediclinic Parkview Hospital offers mammogram services for patients.
7. How is breast cancer treated?
Breast cancer treatment in Dubai has evolved tremendously over the years and it is now a very treatable disease because of advances in treatment as well as earlier diagnosis.
Treatment depends on the stage of the disease, which means that the treatment will be different for each patient. Usually it is a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone pills. Please do not compare your treatment with someone else because the treatment can be different for individual patients.
Some patients are recommended to have targeted therapy which attacks the specific cells.
8. Do I have to have the full breast removed if I have breast cancer?
Treatment has advanced over the last 20 years and health experts no longer recommend mastectomy (removal of the whole breast) for a majority of the patients. They will just need removal of the lump and testing of the lymph nodes in the armpit, also called as sentinel node biopsy.
However, sometimes your doctor may recommend mastectomy if the tumour is large or there are many tumours. In these conditions, you will be offered reconstruction of a new breast with either implants or your own body muscle and fat.
9. How long do I have to stay in hospital after surgery?
You can be discharged the same day or the next day after surgery.
If you opt for a reconstruction, then you may have to stay in hospital for a week post surgery.
10. Can men get breast cancer?
Yes. Though rare (1-2%), men can still get breast cancer and unfortunately usually present at a later stage.
This October, Mediclinic Parkview hospital is offering a FREE consultation with further 50% off your screening mammograms.
For more information about their breast health services, click here.