ABU DHABI, 9th October, 2021 – Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s most prominent hospitals for severe and complex care, and a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, is emphasising on holistic care for Breast Cancer Awareness Month during this month.
Shahrukh Hashmi, Consultant and Chairman, Haematology and Oncology Division at the SSMC, said, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual, month-long initiative to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer.
While the annual observance increases collective consciousness around the disease and healthcare providers emphasise the significance of regular screening, it is equally important to focus on education and understand the holistic effects of the disease on patients, from the physical to the psychological.
SSMC adopts a multi-disciplinary treatment approach, with cross-speciality physicians, including oncologists, surgeons, plastic surgeons, and pathologists who holistically diagnose and treat breast cancer.
This gives people an opportunity to learn whether breast cancer is highly prevalent in their families due to a gene mutation that is inherited.
Those with a high risk of breast cancer may use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to screen.
At the same time, other forms of testing include breast examinations, ultrasound, thermography, and tissue sampling.
Mayada, a 50-year-old breast cancer survivor, said, “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages when I was 46.
My mother is a breast cancer survivor herself.
When she heard me complain about a pain in my breast, she urged me to see a doctor.
I never thought it could be cancer since I did not feel any changes in my breast except for the pain.
Despite my age and family history, I never did self-checks or opted to go to the hospital for screening.
The fear of cancer made me ignore the early and regular screenings, which is why I am thankful that my mother and family encouraged me to see a doctor.
Only following a biopsy was I diagnosed.
I encourage everyone not to let the fear of discovery stop them from taking care of themselves and understand that cancer is a disease that can be treated if caught early.
Depending on the patient case, type of breast cancer, and stage of diagnosis, it is common for patients with breast cancer to get more than one kind of treatment.
Treatment options for breast cancer vary and include surgery to remove cancer tissue; chemotherapy to shrink or kill cancer cells; hormonal therapy, which blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow; biological therapy that collaborates with the body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells; and radiation therapy that uses high-energy rays to kill cancerous cells.
Nahed Balalaa, Consultant, Breast Surgeon at SSMC said, “A life-changing diagnosis like breast cancer not only has a physical effect, but it is also a form of cancer that can have a strong psychosocial impact, introducing feelings of low self-esteem and negative self-image.
A lesser-known fact about breast cancer is that treatment goes beyond purely ridding the body of the cancer itself but also addresses the outward effects of the disease, which can be alleviated with surgical treatments.
Where a patient’s condition allows for it breast conservation is an option where surgeons elect to keep the breast and only remove the cancerous tissue.
There is also the option of breast reconstruction, which includes two types: immediate reconstruction and delayed reconstruction.
The type of the reconstruction depends on the cancer stage, medical condition, and any additional therapies required after the surgery.
During October, the SSMC will host awareness activities, including booth activations, where the public can meet physicians and nurses, discuss any questions or concerns regarding breast cancer, and learn more about the risk factors, symptoms, treatments, and simple daily habits to reduce the risk.