With an endless list of daily obligations and priorities, it is easy to be swept up in life and neglect self-care and health examination appointments. However, health should always be your first priority. If you are a woman, this is really for you:


Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women around the world, and its magnitude is high, particularly in developing countries where the majority of cases are unfortunately diagnosed in the later stages. The UAE is no exception; breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention. This constitutes a significant public health concern in the UAE. Of even more concern is the fact that Arab nationals develop breast cancer at a younger age than women in Western nations. In response, comprehensive and intense public awareness and educational campaigns have been fervently launched across the whole country to increase awareness of the importance of breast cancer screening and its fundamental role in the early detection of this daunting disease.


Scientists are searching for the causes of breast cancer, but it appears to be complex. Various factors can affect your chances of getting breast cancer, such as age, family history, genetics, as well as the surrounding environment, and some of these are not within a woman`s control. Unfortunately, no one can predict who will get breast cancer, but a number of steps can be taken to lower the risk.


Healthy lifestyle choices are known to help lower your risk of various types of cancer and other health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Being physically active, preserving a healthy body weight, and maintaining a healthy diet with plentiful fruit and vegetables may help lower your risk of cancer. Beyond any doubt, this is good for your overall health.


If you are 20 years or older, it is truly imperative to routinely self-examine your breasts, not necessarily just in search of a lump, but to get used to the look and feel of your breasts and how they change through the cycle. By being familiar with how they usually feel, this makes it easier for you to pick up any suspicious changes and seek medical consultation accordingly.


However, not all breast cancer can be detected on examination and it has been shown that regular screening can help to detect changes early. If breast cancer is detected early when it is still small in size and has not spread, there are effective treatment options and a much better chance of survival.


Screening mammograms can save lives! Generally, all women above 40 years of age are advised to proceed for a screening mammogram every two years (annually in case of high risk such as positive family history). The scan is used to look for breast cancer in women who have no symptoms or signs of the disease. A screening mammogram can detect breast cancer while it is still small in size, and thus allows for more effective management and enhanced prospects of recovery.


A mammogram is a unique form of `low-dose` X-ray investigation used to produce detailed images of your breast. Globally, screening mammograms are currently considered the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. It can detect tiny breast lesions as small as a grain of rice before they can be felt by clinical breast examination, and approximately 1-2 years before being discovered by breast self-examination.


If you have any concerns regarding when to start your breast cancer screening, or if you have a positive family history of breast cancer, seek your trusted doctor`s advice and guidance. Because of some existing discrepancy concerning breast cancer screening guidelines, your doctor will review with you various benefits and limitations to determine what is right for you based on your individual requirements, your medical history and your personal breast cancer risk.


Make `You` a Priority!

We encourage you to spare a few - yet extremely precious - minutes to schedule an appointment for your breast health consultation. Talking to your trusted doctor about the breast cancer screening program that is right for you can go a long way to help you protect your health and well-being. Take control and help reduce your breast cancer risk!


The Dubai London Clinic and Speciality Hospital is dedicated to delivering reader-friendly and comprehensive educational information on breast health. We strive to spread the message of the importance of early detection of breast cancer for improving outcomes, and for empowering women with the information needed for healthy living. Share this information to support our endeavours to reach more women during this breast cancer awareness month.


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