Fakeeh University Hospital
Image Credit: Supplied

Breast cancer is the third most frequent cancer in the world and accounts for nearly 23 per cent of cancers in women, UAE is no exception. Of note, is the migratory population of the UAE. More women would die from heart diseases, smoking related conditions, lung cancer, heart disease in non-smokers in comparison to those who would die from breast cancer. Research shows that the average age of diagnosis in the UAE is 10 years younger than anywhere else. As a hospital that is Made for Dubai, we realise the importance of catering to the growing healthcare needs of the community and region. We have a dedicated Breast Centre aimed to bridge the gap that exists in terms of awareness amongst women, seamless assessment of all breast conditions along with providing the population of the UAE with expert care, early detection and better chances of recovery.

Breast cancer is a condition in which the abnormal rapidly dividing cells of the breast multiply. There are various types of breast cancer, determined by the cells in the breast that develop into cancer. Breast cancer cells typically form a lump, abnormal distortion; calcifications or asymmetry between the breast which can be seen on X-rays or felt as a lump. Sometimes, no abnormality can be felt in the breasts, hence the importance of being breast aware and attending for screening in the appropriate age group. It affects almost primarily women; however, men can develop it too.

Dr Alache Millicent Bello


“It is possible to survive breast cancer. While we cannot prevent the onset of the condition, with awareness, the right treatment and care can be given in time for a healthier life ahead. One of the best ways to nip this disease early on is by understanding the symptoms and doing regular screening. Women over 40 years of age should ideally consult their doctor and plan out their screening schedules. While younger women can do regular self-screenings themselves. Women with a strong family history or other risk factors for breast cancer should start screenings earlier after adequate assessment to stratify their risk,” says Dr Alache Millicent Bello, Consultant Breast and Oncoplastic Surgeon, Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai Silicon Oasis.

The symptoms of breast cancer differ in women. Early detection is extremely important to treat the condition effectively. One point to emphasise is that early-stage breast cancer may or may not be painful. Being aware of changes in the breasts should catapult ladies to be assessed to ensure no untoward findings are present in their breasts.

Symptoms to look out for are:

* Painless lump.

* Painful lump.

* New breast pain in women over the age of 40 or even younger.

* Feeling a lump in the breast, armpit, breast and sometimes even in the neck region.

* New change in size with one breast being larger/smaller than the other

* Rash/alteration in the color of the nipple and changes in the skin texture of the breast, thickening like orange peel skin.

* Bloody discharge from the nipple, clear discharge that occurs without provocation or stimulation must be investigated.

* New redness around the nipple

* New in pulling of the nipple and distortion.

* Unexplained rash or ulcer around the nipple.

Dr Serife Simsek

Breast cancer develops when some breast cells grow abnormally. “These cells divide faster than healthy cells, causing a lump or a mass to develop. Cells in your breast may move to lymph nodes or other regions of your body (metastasise) and may cause further issues. The exact cause of breast cancer is still unknown; however, the greatest risk factors have been identified as being female and increasing age. Breast cancer is most seen in women over 40 years of age, however it can be seen in younger women,” says Dr Serife Simsek, FACS, Specialist Breast Surgeon, Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Mammogram is golden standard test to diagnose the breast cancer at earliest stages. Women from 40 years of age should have their mammogram examinations annually and younger women should be aware of self-breast examination techniques. In women with a high risk, MRI examinations help in early diagnosis. “Mammogram is a screening tool that is extremely crucial in early diagnosis of breast cancer. It’s like taking an x-ray of the breast. They cause no side effects except for a slight pain or discomfort caused due to pressure on the breasts which is short lasting. Suspicious lesions must be biopsied to confirm the disease. The most common concern with women when it comes to mammogram is the radiation, however with the advancement in technology, the techniques used today, involves a very small amount of radiation, even lower than an X-ray,” says Dr Mahira Yunus, Interventional Breast Radiologist at Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type, stage of cancer and overall health condition. A multidisciplinary board including the experts in various forms of cancer treatment finalise the treatment protocol. In its early stages, breast conservation surgery is possible. Based on the risks for recurrence, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation may have to be given to ensure that the condition does not recur. Generally, the treatment lasts for a couple of months and patients are generally able to continue with their normal activities during this period as most of the treatment including chemotherapy and radiation are given on an outpatient basis.

Dr Mahira Yunus

Know your risk factors, and most importantly learn how to self-examine your breasts. The first step of self-examination is to understand the normal texture of breast so that any change can be brought to medical attention. Regular screening along with lifestyle modifications form a vital aspect of beating breast cancer. Early diagnosis is vital to ensure cure from breast cancer.

Fakeeh University Hospital’s dedicated Breast Centre is headed by a multidisciplinary and highly experienced team, specialised in treating all kind of malignant breast conditions including Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) — Non-invasive/Pre-invasive Breast Cancer, Invasive Breast Cancer (ILC or IDC), Breast Conserving Surgery (BCS), Lymph Node Biopsy and Axillary Dissection – standard technique used in the staging and treatment of the axilla in breast cancer, as well as all non-cancerous breast conditions including, fibrocystic breast changes, fibroadenomas and cysts, phyllodes tumours. All kind of advanced breast surgery techniques including nipple sparing mastectomy, skin sparing mastectomy, other types of mastectomies are being offered by Fakeeh University Hospital’s dedicated breast surgeons.

For information and appointments call — 04 414 44 44 or visit www.fuh.care