“Fight it Hand in Hand” Campaign to Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer
- Breast cancer is among the fastest growing cancer among women, and concerted efforts are necessary to combat it.
- Breast cancer accounts for nearly 39% of all cancers in women in Qatar.
- Early detection contributes to the healing of 98% of cases.
- Breast lumps are not always cancerous, and 80-85% of them are benign tumors.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women worldwide.
- 3% of breast cancer cases in Qatar are aged 15-19 years.
Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) and Breast Cancer
Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) launched its “Fight it Hand in Hand” Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign to coincide with October, the global breast cancer awareness month. Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of death among women worldwide. It also accounts for 39% of all cancers in women in Qatar.
In this context, Mrs. Maryam Hamad Al Nuaimi, General Director of Qatar Cancer Society (QCS), said that the campaign “Fight it Hand in Hand” targets women of all age groups in Qatar throughout the month, and seeks to achieve a set of objectives:
- The most important objective is to encourage early detection which contributes to the recovery of 98% of cases.
- Raising awareness about the disease, and spreading a culture of healthy lifestyles to prevent it.
- Shedding light on the health services available in Qatar.
- Reviving the spirit of competition and initiative through activities and events.
- Spreading hope and optimism among the different segments of society about cancer and the ability to defeat it.
- Activating the role of the community in providing the necessary physical and emotional support for cancer patients.
Al-Naimi stressed the importance of achieving QCS’s vision of creating a conscious society that does not harbor fears of cancer and spares no effort to raise awareness of the disease in cooperation with all institutions and agencies operating in the state. She pointed out that the launch of the campaign was timed in line with the global movement to raise awareness of the disease. Fighting cancer in general, and breast cancer in particular, needs concerted efforts, especially since it is the fastest growing type of cancer among women, and is strongly linked to lifestyle changes.
Facts and Statistics
Breast cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the breast tissue, where they grow and divide faster than healthy cells.
Heba Nassar, a health educator, said that according to global statistics, breast cancer is the number one cancer in women worldwide. In Qatar, about 3% of breast cancer cases were recorded in females aged 15-19 years. In the Gulf, 85% of cases are detected late and more than half of the cases occur before the age of 50.
The risk factors for breast cancer are many and varied, the most important ones are:
- Gender (women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than men)
- Age (especially those aged 55 years and over)
- Family history of breast cancer (first degree relatives: mother, sister, daughter), about 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary
- Previous history of the disease
- Menstruation at an early age (12 years)
- Menopause after the age of 55 years
- Dense breast tissue, which means that you have a lot of fibrous or adipose tissue and not fatty tissue. Screening tests can help you determine this density.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
- A lump in the breast that is different from other breast tissue
- One or more lumps under the arms
- Changes in the shape or size of one of the breasts
- A change in the skin of the breast, such as redness or wrinkles
- Changes in the nipple, such as an inverted nipple
- Ulcers or abnormal discharge
Nassar indicated that the appearance of any lump in the breast does not mean cancer, and that about 80-85% of lumps discovered in the breast are benign (non-cancerous). Nevertheless, check with your doctor immediately when you notice any unusual changes in your breasts such as a continuous swelling.
Healthy lifestyle habits reduce the risk of this type of cancer:
- Regular physical activity for 20-30 minutes, five days a week
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Abstaining from smoking and drinking
- Breastfeeding for at least six months
- Early detection of breast cancer
- Genetic testing
- Preventive surgery for women who have a high risk of breast cancer
- Reduce exposure to radiation and environmental pollution
- Reduce the use of hormonal treatments and hormonal contraceptives as much as possible.
Nassar stressed the importance of periodic examination for early detection, which is the cornerstone of prevention and treatment. She added that women should initiate early detection in the following cases:
- If you are 20 years of age or above, start having periodical clinical examination.
- When you reach the age of 45, speak to your doctor about having a mammogram.
- If you have any of the symptoms that may be a sign of breast cancer, a genetic predisposition, a previous breast lump (benign or malignant), you should see your doctor immediately.
She added that if you are over 45 years of age, please get in touch with the Early Detection Breast Cancer Contact Center at 8001112.