Breast cancer early detection

Ways to detect Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a form of cancer that develops from the breast tissue. It is mostly found in women, however, can be diagnosed in men too.

Know symptoms and signs of breast cancer include:

  • Nipple discharge or retraction of the nipple
  • Enlargement of one breast, dimpling of the breast surface
  • An “orange peel” texture to the skin
  • Unintentional weight loss and bone pain
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit
  • Visible veins on the breast.

The risk factors for developing breast cancer include obesity due to a lack of physical exercise, drinking alcohol, hormone replacement, therapy during menopause, early age at first menstruation, having children late or not at all and family history.

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Breast Cancer Statistics

Breast Cancer is a growing concern amongst women. Because of its nature however, the subject is not one that we easily discuss. While the awareness is higher than ever, recent statistics show that in the UAE, 30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are already in the third stage.

For this reason, we encourage you as a woman to ‘keep both eyes open for breast cancer’ and learn how to self examine. According to the Health Authority – Dubai, the women themselves find 80% of the cancerous lumps. After all, you know your body better than anyone else.

In 2016, it is estimated that among women there will be: 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer (This includes new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors.) 60,290 new cases of in situ breast cancer (This includes ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Of those, about 83 percent will be DCIS. DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer and LCIS is a condition that increases the risk of invasive breast cancer. Learn more about DCIS and LCIS.) 40,290 breast cancer deaths

Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. In 2016, it is estimated that among men there will be:
2,350 new cases of (This includes new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors.)
440 breast cancer deaths. Rates of breast cancer incidence (new cases) and mortality (death) are much lower among men than among women.

Survival rates for men are about the same as for women with the same stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. However, men are often diagnosed at a later stage. Men may be less likely than women to report symptoms, which may lead to delays in diagnosis.

 

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Your questions on Breast Cancer answered

Since what age should women start a breast examination?

Breast cancer is one such cancer that can be cured if detected and treated during initial stages. It is extremely important for women to know what their breasts look and feel like normally so that they are able to differentiate in case of any changes. Breast cancer can happen to women across all age groups, although a majority of the cases of breast cancer occur in women over 40 years of age. However irrespective of the age, women should be aware of their body and its changes. Diagnosing breast cancer in women under 40 years of age is difficult because the breast tissue during that age is much denser than in older women. However self-breast examinations must be done once a month and can be done by women in their 20’s as well. During the teens, women tend to feel lumps in the breast which is quite normal as the breasts are developing and the lumps normally disappear on their own gradually. However, if the lump gets bigger in size or causes pain/discomfort it is better to consult a specialist in order to understand the cause.

A self-breast examination should be done by women whose breasts are fully developed (post-adolescence). Beginning the practice early will help women create a habit out of it and they will become much more familiar with their breasts and can address any changes that the breast undergoes. The self-examination should be done after the days of mensuration as during those days the breasts tend to be swollen. At a younger age, regular examination at frequent intervals is recommended in order to rule out any health condition. Mammograms are not recommended for women below 40 years of age because of the dense breast tissue women have at a younger age, hence mammograms may not be extremely efficient. Women over 40 years of age should screen themselves annually. In case of women who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer; i.e. women who have a family history of breast cancer, women who started menstruating before 12 years of age, women with poor lifestyle habits, women diagnosed with benign breast conditions previously etc. it is recommended to consult a specialist who would be able to advise on the right time to begin mammogram screening.

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Obesity and Breast Cancer

Obesity is on the rise worldwide, and is one of the leading risk factors for breast cancer. Excess body weight, poor diet, and physical inactivity have all been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. In the UAE itself, obesity has gone up at an exponential rate over the last twenty years. Economic growth, leading to a sedentary lifestyle, has resulted in nearly 30% of women in the UAE being overweight, and a further 11% being obese.

Obesity is defined as body mass index of >= to 30 kgs/m sq, and is associated with an overall increase in morbidity and mortality. However, the risk of breast cancer associated with BMI appears to depend on menopausal status of women. (more…)

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Preventing infections while fasting

During Ramadan, there is a significant decrease in water consumption over a long period of time. The unrelenting heat, harsh sunlight and longer days do not make it easy for people who fast. When you add dehydration, fatigue and weakness to the equation, you can have several health complications, including kidney stones and urinary tract infections (UTIs) in both men and women. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration are increased thirst, headache, lightheadedness, constipation, dry skin and mouth. We receive a number of patients who come to us with dehydration during Ramadan. All individuals planning to fast need to recognize the issue in advance of the fasting period and adopt the right measures to reduce the incidence of the problem to have a safe and healthy holy month.

The incidence of kidney, ureter or bladder (KUB) stones and urinary tract (UTIs) infections can increase in individuals towards the last days of Ramadan. Stones are commonly seen in people who consume less than the suggested eight to ten glasses of water a day. When there is not enough water to dilute the uric acid, which is found in urine, the pH (alkaline) level within the urine lowers and becomes more acidic. A highly acidic environment in the kidneys is linked to the incidence of kidney stones. (more…)

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