1. What are the different ways to detect breast cancer?

  • Physical examination: Physical examination of the breast - Checking for lumps, hardness, or tenderness in the breasts and lymph nodes.
  • Mammogram: X-ray of the breast.
  • Ultrasound: Imaging the breast using sound waves to detect for abnormal lumps
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI of breast provides detailed image of the breast lumps.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET): To determine the staging of cancer.
  • Breast biopsy: Removing a sample of breast cells for microscopic examination.

2. Are there any early signs?

  • Changes in the size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast/nipple
  • New lump in the breast or underarm
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood

3. Is there an age that women should start having checkups?

Women can start clinical breast exams as young as 25, but most importantly after the age of 39. If you have any risk factors, the earlier you should start.

4. How often should women go in for checkups?

Every 2-3 years from the ages of 20 – 39

Once a year after the age 40

5. What are the best self-examination tests?

Breast self-examinations are personal examinations of your own breasts, they can be an important way to find a breast cancer early (lump), however they must be accompanied with regular clinical breast exams and screenings when necessary as they do not replace them.

6. Are there any groups that are more at risk?

  • Aging – being 45 or older
  • Family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • Starting your menstrual cycle before age 12
  • Race and ethnicity – White race is at a higher risk
  • Having dense breasts
  • Being overweight

7. Is it possible to find out when in the last stage of breast cancer is and what the cure for it?

Stage 4 breast cancer, also named metastatic breast cancer (MBC), is the latest stage. Though treatable, metastatic breast cancer cannot be cured as it has spread outside the breast and may be affecting vital organs, like the brain or lungs. The five-year survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer is 22%, average survival is three years.

*5 year survival rate = the percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive five years after they were diagnosed with the cancer.*

8. What is the survival rate with breast cancer in the UAE?

As of 2021, the 5 years survival rate of breast cancer in the UAE was 89%.

Elobaid, Y., Aamir, M., Grivna, M., Suliman, A., Attoub, S., Mousa, H., Ahmed, L. A., & Oulhaj, A. (2021). Breast cancer survival and its prognostic factors in the United Arab Emirates: A retrospective study.