Abu Dhabi: Nearly 45 per cent of all women’s cancers in Abu Dhabi are breast cancer and if detected early, 98 per cent of patients will survive.
The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), the emirate’s public health provider, has accordingly launched a multipronged campaign to promote awareness all through this month, which is designated internationally as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Need for early diagnosis
“We cannot stress enough the importance of early detection when it comes to overcoming breast cancer. Too often, we see patients overlooking and dismissing symptoms, resulting in late diagnoses. The more diligent we are with screenings, the more likely we are to diagnose the disease early and treat it successfully. We recommend women over the age of 40 years to undergo mammogram screenings every two years. If you are in the risk group, please contact your physician and schedule a mammogram. We urge you and your loved ones to not delay and prioritise cancer care at the soonest,” said Dr Noura Al Ghaithi, acting chief executive officer at Seha’s clinic wing, the Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS).
Adopting a healthy lifestyle
Women should have open conversations with their primary care physicians on when to begin breast cancer screening tests, and learn how to complete the self-exam and identify abnormalities like lumps. This is in addition to adopting a healthy lifestyle by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week, maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying a balanced diet.
“Conducting regular self-checks and mammogram screenings is key to detecting breast cancer early. We urge women to discuss their personal and family medical histories with their health-care 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. Through education and awareness, we can identify the disease at an early stage and help patients overcome it,” said Dr Khalid Saeed Balaraj, chair of Oncology Services at Tawam Hospital, a Seha facility.
Preventive screening is available across Sha’s AHS Healthcare Centers and at Al Dhafra Hospitals. For female patients above 40 (or those with risk factors), mammograms are available in multiple locations to ensure ease of access in Abu Dhabi, including Al Bateen, Zafaranah, Madinat Khalifa, Baniyas and Al Muwaiji in Al Ain.
To provide easy access and convenience, mobile mammogram trucks will also be stationed at additional AHS clinics, including Al Ain’s Al Yahr Healthcare Center, Al Jahili, Al Towayya Children’s Speciality Center, Oud al Touba Diagnostic and Screening Center, Al Hili Healthcare Center, Mezyad Healthcare Center, Neima Healthcare Center, Al Khatem Healthcare Center, Tawam Breast Care Center and Al Wagan Hospital. These trucks will visit the clinics throughout the year.
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Seha will also be conducting multiple online webinars to create breast cancer awareness.
Following the screenings, patients with abnormal findings are promptly referred for advanced care at Seha hospitals.