Abu Dhabi: Free mammograms to diagnose breast cancer will be offered throughout the year to highlight the need for women to be aware of the dangers of breast cancer.

"Our target is to reach out to rural woman over the ages of 40 and speak to them about the importance of diagnosing breast cancer in the early stages," said Patricia Snozyk, Consultant, Family Medicine, Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC).

The region-wide campaign, 'Breaking the Silence', will continue about the importance of early detection of breast cancer through various TV clips, at movie theatres and flyers in English and Arabic.

Women are also invited to the 'Pink Majlis' till November 22 at the Marina Mall, Al Wahda Mall and SKMC where educational programmes, brochures and volunteers will be available to answer questions.

The colour pink represents support for woman with breast cancer, white is in the memory of women who lost their lives to breast cancer, and yellow in appreciation of people who have been influential in either curing or educating breast cancer patients.

Dr Ulo Ambus, Head, Division of General, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, at the Medical City, earlier spoke at the Higher Colleges of Technology saying that younger women today are keen to learn more about the risks of breast cancer. "I would like to see that the majority of breast cancers are diagnosed at an early stage when the lump is only a few millimetres and not fully grown," he said.

The average age prevention of breast cancer is 39.8 years. Women, however, with a bad history of breast cancer in the family should be screened in their early 30's.

This is referred to as first degree pre-menopausal cancer, which is prevalence of breast cancer among immediate family members such as a mother, sister or daughter, he added.

The age to undergo a mammogram is debatable among doctors. Dr Ambus said woman above the age of 40 years should have a mammogram once a year.

Regular check-ups

A staff physician from Corniche Hospital, however, highly recommends that any woman over the age of 35 should get a routine mammography, ultra-sound examination or both.

"Breast Cancer is the most common cancer prevalent in women. I recommend self examination of both breasts immediately after the menstrual cycle. The routine self examination is quiet easy and your physician can advise you about the techniques involved."

Various hospitals this month are encouraging staff members to perform a breast examination by providing educational leaflets, brochures and conferences regarding steps to self examination.