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There are two parts to BSE
Appearance: look for visual
signs of dimpling, swelling, or
redness on or near the breasts.
How they feel:
• Lie down on your back with
a pillow under your right
• Use the pads of the three middle
fingers on your left hand to
check your right breast.
• Press using light, medium and
firm pressure in a circle without
lifting your fingers off the skin
in an up and down pattern.
• Feel for changes in your
breast, above and below your
collarbone and in your armpit.
• Repeat on your left breast using
your right hand.
• Palpation of the nipple - women
that are not breastfeeding gently
squeeze each nipple to check for
any discharge.
Preventive Services Task Force
recommends mammography every
two years in women between the
ages of 50 and 74,” she advises
but in women with high risk,
mammography screening is
recommended at an earlier age
and additional testing may include
genetic screening that tests for the
BRCA genes and / or magnetic
resonance imaging.
Dr. Dmitrieva explains that
around eighty percent of new
breast cancer cases in Dubai
are at an advanced stage and
in the UAE, women aged 35
and above have insurance
coverage for an annual breast
cancer screening program.
She advises, “Women
between 40 and 50 years
should be screened every
two years and women over
the age of 50 should be
screened annually.”
Know the Symptoms
When breast cancer starts out, Dr.
Dmitrieva says that it is too small
to feel and does not cause signs
and symptoms. “As it grows, it can
cause changes in how the breast
looks or feels,” she says. Symptoms
may include:
• Lump in the breast or underarm
• Thickening or swelling of part of
the breast
• Irritation or dimpling of breast
skin, redness or flaky skin in the
nipple area or the breast
• Pain in the nipple area
• Nipple discharge
• Change in the size or the shape
of the breast, changes in colour
or texture, and/or an inverted
The best time to do a breast
self-exam or BSE, suggests Dr.
Dmitrieva is about a week after
menstrual period starts and it
should be done monthly.
Real Life Breast Cancer Survivors:
Angela Shearman,
age 34, first found out she had breast cancer on
February 13th, 2014.
“I never really did self-exams as I thought I was too young and had no family
history. Still I just happened to feel a large hard lump one day and then went
to my GP who referred me for an ultrasound and mammogram. Once I was
diagnosed, I stayed calm while taking in all the information from the doctor.
Once I was out the doctor’s office, I broke down crying. I had my husband with
me and we just sat in the reception while I cried. The first dreaded phone call
was to my mother in Australia. However through all of this I never once thought
I was going to die, I knew I would fight this no matter what.”
“I first had surgery and then chemotherapy. My in-laws came to help me after
surgery and then my mother came out to help me during my chemotherapy. My
mom was my rock during this time; she was a tremendous help with my three
year old daughter and myself. I had to have four sessions, one session every
three weeks. The first session was the hardest. I did not know what to expect and
I did not like the feeling of being weak and tired. I started to lose my hair two
weeks to the day from the first treatment. I shaved my head soon after. I thought
I would be really emotional shaving my hair but my mother shaved her head
with me and it was all okay. I have just finished my last treatment on July 9th. It’s
a relief to know that it’s all over and done with…”
Oct/Nov 2014