Health

Medcare Women & Children Hospital Announces Breast Cancer Screenings with Special Offer

Early intervention saves lives. The American Cancer Society estimates that the five-year survival rate for those whose breast cancer is detected early, at a localized stage, is 99 percent. In addition to higher survival rates, early detection has many benefits, says Dr. Sonia Chaudhary, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Medcare Women and Children’s Hospital.

Cancers detected by screening are smaller and less aggressive, making treatment easier and less aggressive.

– Dr. Sonia Chaudhary, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Medcare Women & Children Hospital

It also means that more breast tissue can be preserved, which has less impact on a person’s body image and therefore overall sense of well-being. Additionally, treatment is less expensive than for advanced-stage cases and personalized approaches based on early detection improve outcomes.

So how should a person be on the lookout for breast cancer? Start with a self-examination, says Dr. Zofia Gordon Sönmez, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Medcare Women & Children Hospital. “Self-examinations should be repeated monthly, preferably after the end of menstrual bleeding, when there is less water retention in the body, the breasts are not swollen or tender and therefore easier to palpate. “Postmenopausal women should check their breasts every four weeks.” A quick inspection allows women to get to know their breasts and be able to tell if even subtle changes appear.

As to when this change warrants a doctor’s appointment, the answer is every time.

Any time a newly palpated lump is found, it should be examined by a doctor.

– Dr. Zofia Gordon Sönmez, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Medcare Women & Children Hospital

And even if there are no changes, you should show up screening tests such as mammography after age 40 every year and after age 30 if you are in a high-risk group. “Clinical symptoms such as changes in size, shape or appearance, redness of the skin, asymmetry, newly inverted nipple and nipple leakage are symptoms of a more advanced disease,” says Dr. Gordon Sönmez. “That’s why screening is so important: it detects cancer before it is clinically symptomatic.”

Who is at risk?

Some women are at higher risk of breast cancer than others. This is especially the case if you have a close relative (such as your mother, sister, or daughter) who has been diagnosed with cancer. “Genetic counseling may be recommended to assess the need for genetic testing,” says Dr. Chaudhary. Other risk factors include mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, prolonged hormone replacement therapy, and specific genetic syndromes or medical conditions such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome or Cowden syndrome. “Women who received radiation therapy to the chest area, particularly during childhood or adolescence, may be at increased risk. And certain ethnic groups may be at higher risk of carrying BRCA mutations, which may increase the risk of breast cancer,” adds Dr. Chaudhary.

While genetics is a risk factor, there are many lifestyle behaviors that influence outcomes. Dr. Gordon Sönmez explains: “It has been found that an unhealthy diet, excessive body mass, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, prolonged menopausal hormone therapy, for more than five years, or the use of contraceptives oral intake in adolescence increases the risk of breast cancer. Therefore, lifestyle changes can reduce the risk. In addition, breastfeeding is known to be a protective factor.”

Breaking the myths

Equally important is the urgent need to debunk the misconceptions surrounding the disease. Like the idea that mammograms are painful and dangerous. “Mammograms may cause some discomfort, but are generally well tolerated and safe,” says Dr. Chaudhary. “The benefits of early detection through mammography far outweigh any temporary discomfort.”

Many believe that only women can get cancer or that only those with a family history are at risk. Dr. Chaudhary explains: “Both men and women can get breast cancer. Age is not an obstacle. Most cases of breast cancer occur in people with no family history of the disease. Having a family history can increase the risk, but it is not the only determinant. In fact, about 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no known family history of the disease.”

It’s also not true that only women with large breasts can get cancer or that a lump in your breast means you have it. “Not all lumps are cancerous. Many lumps turn out to be benign (non-cancerous) conditions. However, any unusual lump should be evaluated by a health professional,” she states.

It also debunks the belief that antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.

And not all cases of breast cancer require a mastectomy. “Many cases of breast cancer can be treated with less extensive surgeries, such as lumpectomies (removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue) combined with radiation therapy,” he says.

Learn from trusted sources and take action

One of the ways to dispel fear and increase awareness is to rely on reliable sources of information. “Consult the medical experts at Medcare Women & Children Hospital for accurate information about breast cancer,” says Dr. Chaudhary. “Understanding the facts can lead to better awareness, early detection and better outcomes for those affected by this disease.”

When was the last time you went to have a mammogram? Medcare Women & Children Hospital has created a special discounted package priced at just Dh350. The package includes a consultation and the choice between an ultrasound and a mammogram.

Click here to book your breast cancer screening at Medcare Women & Children Hospital

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