Early detection is the best protection from breast cancer, highlight experts
DUBAI – Aster, a part of DM Healthcare, the leading healthcare conglomerate in the GCC and in India, telecast a webinar on Breast Cancer awareness recently for Al Khail Gate residential community, in association with the Ladies Wing of AKGMA (Al Khail Gate Malayalee Association).
The seminar, led by a panel of specialist doctors from Aster Medical Centers and Hospitals across Dubai, went live on web to mark the month of October for breast cancer awareness. More than hundred AKGMA lady members attended the live seminar on breast cancer prevention and were provided with free screening by a specialist gynecologist from ASTER Medical Centre, Business Bay.
The webinar conducted for the lady members of the residential community organization began with a prayer for breast cancer victims around the world. The panel of doctors who addressed the webinar included Dr. Keya Rahul S (Specialist Gynecologist, ASTER Medical Centre- Business Bay), Dr. Mahendra Rajan (Specialist General and Laparoscopic Surgeon at ASTER Hospital-Bur Dubai), Dr. Astha Mishra (Specialist Gynecologist at ASTER Medical Centre- Al Qouz) and Dr. Usha Sethi (Specialist Gynecologist at ASTER Medical Centre-TEECOM-3, Al Barsha).
Mrs. Premi Mathew, an active social volunteer and founder of “Protect Your Mom” and “Hair for Hope India” Facebook campaign pages, inaugurated the webinar with a pink ribbon ceremony for the participating women.
Premi Mathew has been campaigning among healthy women to donate their hair for supporting cancer-affected women, who lost their hair after undergoing chemotherapy. Inspiring many women to donate their lustrous locks, the Dubai-based social activist’s campaign is not only about getting hair donors but also focuses on awareness early detection of breast cancer. Dr. Keya Rahul donated 12 inches of her hair towards this noble cause in the function for the benefit of the cancer affected chemo therapy patients.
Initiating the session, Dr. Keya Rahul said, “Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women. One in eight women is affected by the chronic disease if she survives till 80. However, breast cancer is one of those cancers which can be detected by the women themselves, so it’s not required to go to the doctor first. As the lifespan of women is generally longer than that of men, they have more chances for having cancer and it is more common to occur after 50 years of age. Two third of women are diagnosed with breast cancer after the age of 50 and even before that for some women. After the age of 40 years, women are advised to undergo MRI, ultrasound or mammogram tests.”
“The risk factors for breast cancer included obesity, dietary disorders and genetic mutations. Women who attain menarche before the age of 12, or having their first baby after the age of 30, and those who attain menopause after the age of 55 are also among the high-risk groups. However, 65 per cent of the breast cancer cases are hereditary (with the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes). The most important thing to prevent the disease is awareness and understanding the changes happening in the body,” she added.
Continuing the discussion, Dr. Astha Mishra noted, “Women of older generations generally ignored their health, especially diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases. The breast cancer now is a menace for the women in the UAE, India and several other parts of the world. Emirati women are more prone to breast cancer than expatriate women among the UAE population. This is due to the lifestyle and dietary issues, especially estrogen disorder that aggravates the risks.”
“Detecting breast cancer is now easier thanks to the modern technology. However, regular self-examination of breasts is the first step for early detection and the best time for it is after the periods. All the women, whether they are Asymptomatic or Symptomatic, should do the self-examination. After 40 years, all women are advised to undergo mammogram annually. Those who are having a family history of breast cancer should go for mammogram from the age of 35 years along with an ultrasound test, as the tissues are too tender to cancer detection,” she advised.
Dr. Astha further explained, “Sedentary lifestyle and dietary issues such as regular consumption of fast foods and physical inactivity contribute highly to the prevalence of breast cancer cases in this part of the world. It’s highly recommended to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, salads and sprouts, fruits and dairy products; drink sufficient quantity of water; and reduce intake of fatty foods. Regular walking or other physical exercise for at least 20 to 25 minutes per day will boost the metabolism. Staying away from stress is also significant.”
On being asked at what age should a girl start self-examining, Dr. Mahendra Rajan said, “Women should start the self-examination of breasts from the age 20. No need to panic if any painless lumps – the primary detectable abnormality – are found. It may not be cancerous, however, it is important to examine every lump and follow up on it. Whenever you see a lump, it should be examined.”
“The most advanced technology to detect breast cancer is Triple Biopsy Method – which is not yet being practiced in Dubai. As mammogram radiation is very low and harmless, there’s nothing to be worried about it. If there’s any lesion or suspicious mass, pick up samples and send it for examination, in addition to doing BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests,” he advised.
According to him, the prevalence of breast cancer in Dubai is quite difficult to determine, as people are reluctant to consult doctors.
Dr. Usha Sethi, while speaking at the webinar, pointed out, “Breastfeeding is highly protective against breast cancer. Feeding the child for at least one year is very effective for mothers to prevent breast cancer causing factors. While the mother is feeding the baby, she is away from those hormones that you are always under the exposure.”
Dr. Keya Rahul concluded, “Once you have seen or identified a lump, or it has been diagnosed as cancerous, you should be calm and strong. It is important for mothers to educate their young daughters as well about breast cancer prevention, and children can also help their moms by reminding their mothers to have a self-check done.”
The webinar was then followed by a presentation on self-examination by Dr. Keya, guiding the women as to how to conduct a self-breast examination, which was then rounded up by a Question and Answer session.
Creating more awareness on breast cancer prevention in the month of October, Aster Diagnostic Centre within Aster Jubilee Medical Complex located in Bur Dubai is currently offering a 50 per cent discount on mammogram, which will run until the October 31.
From L to R Thara Abraham, Chairperson of ladies wing of AKGMA, Dr. Astha Mishra, Specialist Gynecologist at ASTER Medical Centre-Al Qouz, Dr. Usha Sethi Specialist Gynecologist at ASTER Medical Centre-TEECOM-3, Dr. Keya Rahul S Specialist Gynecologist at ASTER Medical Centre-Business Bay, Mrs. Premi Mathew, Dr. Mahendra Rajan Specialist General and Laparoscopic Surgeon at ASTER Hospital-Bur Dubai .