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Oncologists in the UAE Warn Against Neglecting Genetic Susceptibility of Breast Cancer


Women who have history of breast cancer or relatives with the disease should consider early breast cancer screening.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 10, 2015 --(PR.com)-- According to Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), women over the age of 40 should start regular breast screening. However, in line with International Women’s Day, oncologists in the UAE renew calls for women who have genetic susceptibility to get screened for breast cancer earlier than usual.

Women who have one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman's risk. Having two first-degree relatives increases her risk three-fold.

Females with previous history of breast cancer have a three-to-four times higher risk and women with a family history of breast cancer in a father or brother also have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Additionally, women with dense breasts that appear on a mammogram have a risk of breast cancer one to two times that of women with average breast density. It is important to note that dense breast tissue can also make mammograms less accurate.

According to Dr Haytham Elsalhat, Surgical Oncologist, Chief of Surgical departments, Al Noor Hospital, Abu Dhabi, UAE, “Women who are carriers of the BRACA I and II genetic mutations are also at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, along with other female malignancies. Excess weight and decreased physical activity also plays a role in increasing the risk factor for breast cancer. In one study from the Women's Health Initiative, as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of brisk walking can reduce a woman's risk by 18%.”

Dr Elsalhat will deliberate the genetic susceptibility leading to breast cancer at the Obs-Gyne Exhibition and Congress, organised by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, which takes place on 29-31 March 2015 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“The gold standard for screening in the UAE is still the mammogram. For high risk women, and MRI and ultrasound can be used,” adds Dr Elsalhqat.

Individuals who have a family history of cancer are encouraged to screen and test for BRACA I and II genetic mutations. This is usually performed by providing a blood or saliva sample. A positive test result cannot indicate whether an individual will actually develop cancer or when. Many women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation may never develop breast or ovarian cancer.

Both men and women, who inherit harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, may pass the mutations on to their sons and daughters, whether or not they develop cancer themselves. Each child has a 50 percent chance of inheriting a parent’s mutation.
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