BREAST CANCER



Breast cancer is a type of cancer in which abnormal breast cells grow out of control and form tumors. It typically begins as a small tumor and has the potential to spread to other parts of the body over time if not treated at the earlier stage. Breast cancer can develop in different parts of the breast, including the milk ducts, lobules, or the connective tissue within the breast. It can occur in both men and women, but it is far more common in women.

In 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer globally, resulting in 685,000 deaths. It accounts for 12% of all new cancer cases and 25% of all cancers in women.

Approximately 1000 women in the United Arab Emirates are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, making up 21.4% of total new cancer cases in the region.



  • Signs and symptoms
  • Causes and Risk Factors
  • Diagnosis & Screening
  • Treatment
  • Prevention
Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:

  • A lump or thickening in the breast or underarm
  • Changes in breast size or shape
  • Nipple changes, such as inversion or discharge
  • Skin changes on the breast, like redness or dimpling
  • Breast pain (though this is not a common symptom of breast cancer)
Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of breast cancer is not known. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Genetic mutations like BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Gender (women are at higher risk than men are to develop breast cancer)
  • Increasing age, most often diagnosed in adults over the age of 50, but it can occur at any age
  • Hormonal factors, such as early menstruation or late menopause
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged exposure to estrogen (Postmenopausal hormone therapy)
  • Drinking alcohol
Diagnosis & Screening

Breast cancer is typically diagnosed through a combination of methods, including:

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, further tests may be done to determine the extent of the cancer and its stage.

Treatment

Treatment options depend on the cancer’s stage, type, and individual factors. They may include:

  • Surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy
Prevention

Breast cancer cannot always be prevented, there are steps individuals can take to reduce their risk. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Staying physically active
  • Regular breast cancer screenings

Regular breast cancer screenings and early detection remain crucial in increasing the chances of successful treatment and survival. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for guidance and appropriate screening.


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    FAQs

    • What is the most common cancer in UAE?
    • Does alcohol consumption raise breast cancer risk?
    • What is breast cancer screening?
    • What is a mammogram?
    • Should I perform a mammogram screening if I don’t have any symptoms?
    What is the most common cancer in UAE?

    Breast cancer was the most common (20.2%) and leading cause of cancer death in 2019, with an estimated average of 11.6% of cancer deaths per year.

    Top ten most common malignant primary sites among the UAE population, 2019

    most common Cancer UAE
    Source: Ministry of Health and Prevention, Statistics and Research Center, National Disease Registry—UAE National Cancer Registry Report 2019.

    Does alcohol consumption raise breast cancer risk?

    Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to an approximate 30-50% increased risk in breast cancer.

    What is breast cancer screening?

    Breast cancer screening is a process to detect breast cancer early, often before symptoms appear. It includes methods like mammography and clinical breast exams by a doctor.

    What is a mammogram?

    A mammogram is a screening tool used to to detect breast cancer.

    Learn more about Mammography

    Should I perform a mammogram screening if I don’t have any symptoms?

    If your age is above 40 or have family history of breast cancer, you should perform mammogram. Mammograms detect early breast cancer. The earlier the breast cancer is detected, the better the chances of survival. Early detection is a lifesaver.

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