‘Emiratis must be breast cancer aware’

Health experts say more needs to be done to educate Emirati women about breast cancer after a study found that only 37 per cent had tests after being referred by doctors.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // Health experts say more needs to be done to educate Emirati women about breast cancer after a study found that only 37 per cent had tests after being referred by doctors.

There were 496 women in RAK questioned, the majority of whom were Emirati and between 30 and 39 years of age, with a minority over 60. The survey was organised in collaboration with Pink Caravan – a breast cancer awareness campaign – and the Canadian University of Dubai.

“We absolutely must create more of a community that supports and educates women and men in the UAE regarding breast cancer,” said Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, secretary general of the Friends of Cancer Patients society and head of Pink Caravan’s medical and awareness committee.

About 48 per cent of the group were referred for a mammogram or ultrasound, either for having an abnormal clinical breast examination or because they met the criteria of being over 40 years old and had not had a mammogram during the past 12 months.

However, of the 236 referrals, only 88 women responded, and of these, 29 were asked to do a biopsy, with two cases of cancer detected.

The study was published in the International Journal of Research Studies in Biosciences.

“One of the most important factors of this paper was to also highlight the importance of initiatives such as the Pink Caravan in increasing awareness of breast cancer,” said Dr Rami El Khatib, chairman of the School of Environment and Health Sciences at the Canadian University of Dubai and author of the paper.

nhanif@thenational.ae

Published: December 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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