Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care and a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, drives emphasis on holistic care this Breast Cancer Awareness Month – observed in October of every year, beginning from education to a multi-disciplinary model of care.
Dr. Shahrukh Hashmi, Consultant and Chairman, Hematology & Oncology Division at SSMC, said: “Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual, month-long initiative to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. While the annual observance increases collective consciousness around the disease and healthcare providers emphasize the significance of regular screening, it is equally important to focus on education and understanding the holistic effects of the disease on patients, from the physical to the psychological.”
SSMC adopts a multi-disciplinary treatment approach, with cross-specialty physicians that holistically diagnose and treat breast cancer, including oncologists, surgeons, plastic surgeons, and pathologists. Part of their services for screening includes genetic testing that checks for mutated genes in carriers who might have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer. This gives people an opportunity to learn whether breast cancer is highly prevalent in their family due to a gene mutation that is inherited.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to screen those who have a high risk of breast cancer, while other forms of testing include breast examinations, ultrasound, thermography, and tissue sampling.
Mayada, a 50-year old breast cancer survivor: “I was diagnosed with cancer in my breast in its early stages when I was 46 years old. My mother is a breast cancer survivor herself. When she heard me complain about a pain in my breast, she urged me to see a doctor. I never thought it could be cancer since I didn’t feel any changes in my breast except for the pain. I never did self-checks or opted to go to hospital for a screening, despite my age and family history. The fear of facing the possibility of cancer made me ignore the early and regular screenings, which is why I am thankful that my mother and family encouraged me to see a doctor, and only following a biopsy was I diagnosed. I encourage everyone not to let the fear of discovery stop them from taking care of themselves and to understand that cancer is a disease that can be treated, when caught early.”
Depending on the patient case, type of breast cancer, and stage of diagnosis, it is common for patients with breast cancer to get more than one kind of treatment. Treatment options for breast cancer vary, and include: surgery to remove cancer tissue; chemotherapy to shrink or kill cancer cells; hormonal therapy which blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow; biological therapy that collaborates with the body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells; and radiation therapy that uses high-energy rays to kill cancerous cells.
Dr. Nahed Balalaa, Consultant, Breast Surgeon at SSMC said: “A life-changing diagnosis like breast cancer not only has a physical effect, but it is also a form of cancer that can have a strong psychosocial impact, introducing feelings of low self-esteem and negative self-image. A lesser known fact about breast cancer is that treatment goes beyond purely ridding the body of the cancer itself but also addresses the outward effects of the disease, which can be alleviated with surgical treatments. Where a patient’s condition allows for it, breast conservation is an option where surgeons elect to keep the breast, and only remove the cancerous tissue. There is also the option of breast reconstruction which includes 2 types: the immediate reconstruction and delayed reconstruction. The type of the reconstruction depends on the cancer stage, medical condition, and any additional therapies that could be required after the surgery.”
During the month of October, SSMC will be hosting awareness activities, including booth activations, where members of the public can meet SSMC physicians and nurses, discuss any questions or concerns regarding breast cancer, and learn more about the risk factors, symptoms, treatments, and simple daily habits to reduce the risk.
The general public are encouraged to visit SSMC’s booths from October 10 to 16, which will be located at SSMC from October 10 to 13 and then at Yas Mall (in front of Carrefour) from October 14 to 16. In addition, to commemorate the observance, SSMC’s building will appear in pink during the full month of October.
About Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC):
Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), the UAE’s largest healthcare network, and Mayo Clinic, a non-profit global leader in medical care, education and research headquartered in the United States of America. Established in 2019, SSMC is the largest tertiary hospital in the UAE and serves to elevate the provision of healthcare services in the nation under the mandate of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
Supported by the latest diagnostic and treatment modalities available, SSMC offers care in 24 specialties. A team of locally and internationally trained physicians and allied health staff work seamlessly together, which promotes comprehensive interdisciplinary learning, allowing SSMC to become a leading hub for integrated patient-centric medical services in the region.
As the region’s leading tertiary facility, SSMC has 742 patient beds, 18 operating theatres and includes a hybrid operating room, 26 neonatal intensive care units and the UAE’s largest pathology lab.
The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC–SEHA – is an independent, public joint stock company created to develop the curative activities of the public healthcare system in Abu Dhabi. The company owns and operates all the public hospitals and clinics of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
SEHA is part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a broad portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s diversified economy.
SEHA is committed to continuous improvement of customer care to recognized international standards and providing the community with world-class healthcare. SEHA operates 13 hospitals with 3,385 beds, 70 ambulatory care, family care and urgent care centers and 2 blood banks. Its facilities accommodate 117,162 inpatients annually and conduct 43,262 surgeries, as well as treating more than five million outpatients. SEHA is one of the largest integrated healthcare providers in the Middle East with more than 18,000 doctors, nurses, ancillary care, and administrative personnel.
About Mayo Clinic:
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and Mayo Clinic Facts for more information about Mayo.