MEN and women took part in a breast cancer awareness event aimed at encouraging them to get checked, as the best form of prevention is early detection.
The free-to-attend event, organised by Hilal Conferences and Exhibitions (HCE), featured a presentation and question-answer session by Al Malaki Specialist Hospital’s family medicine consultant Dr Ghufran Ahmed Jassim, at the Wyndham Grand Manama.
It highlighted the importance of breast cancer screening besides symptoms to look out for and risk reduction methods.
“The only solution for breast cancer is early detection,” said Dr Jassim, who is also a professor at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical University of Bahrain.
“It is the only way out of this disease as we don’t know the cause yet.
“We only know how to detect it as early as possible.”
Dr Jassim shared how the ailment is most common among women, its risk factors, the need for screening and self-examinations as well as how culture and fear stop women and men from getting checked.
“Decisions on treatment choices could be deferred in some cases to the husband or family, rather than taken as a shared decision or as the choice of the woman,” said Dr Jassim.
“Women identify this as the husband’s right and value their spouse’s opinion because they feel obliged to satisfy him.
“Some women are also intimidated as they fear their husbands may marry again.
“Also, the fear of having to face the consequences of being diagnosed can deter them as well.”
Awareness campaigns have been rolled out in schools to educate girls and boys about the disease.
Although international guidelines say 40 is when women should opt for a mammogram, Dr Jassim says people shouldn’t wait if they have a family history, symptoms or notice changes in their breasts.
“We always recommend that women do self-examinations as well,” said Dr Jassim, whose mother passed away from breast cancer three or four years ago. Her mother had fought hard and lived with it for 20 years, despite complications. This is one of the reasons Dr Jassim became a doctor herself – to continue the good fight taken up by her mum.
The session comes as part of HCE’s Health Matters, an advocacy online platform and campaign created to promote wellness in the kingdom. It was held in partnership with Healthcapita Bahrain, the GDN and Wyndham Grand Manama.