Breast Health & Cancer Program

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About Our Breast Health & Cancer Program

The Breast Health & Cancer Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides access to a full range of breast health services, all in one place. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists offers breast surgery and reconstruction, breast medical oncology, genetic testing and advanced diagnostic techniques such as image guided biopsy, not available anywhere else in Abu Dhabi. We also provide cutting-edge breast cancer treatment optionsaddressing the most complex of cases, including targeted therapies, immunotherapy and radiation therapy. Reconstruction is an important part of the journey, and we continue to care for patients long after their mastectomy, performing additional procedures when needed.

Our clinic also features a dedicated Breast Imaging Suite, with our all-female multidisciplinary team performing screening, investigative and diagnostic services in a completely private and compassionate environment. We are one of only a handful of centers offering the latest 3D mammography equipment, which allows for better detection of tumors and reduces the chances of false positives.

Breast Health Clinic
  • Why Choose Us?
  • What We Treat
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis & Treatment
  • Prevention & Screening
  • Program Caregivers

Why Choose Us?

Our Breast Health & Cancer Program multidisciplinary team works together to provide compassionate, comprehensive breast care, close to home. We offer the latest screening, diagnosis and treatment for women with both breast cancer and benign (non-cancerous) breast diseases, including novel targeted therapies and intraoperative radiation therapy. We also work collaboratively to promote breast health awareness and breast cancer prevention.

Our multidisciplinary approach brings together a team of experts to provide coordinated and exceptional patient care to those diagnosed with breast cancer. The team meets regularly as a multidisciplinary tumor board to discuss each patient and ensure the best treatment options are considered for each individual.

For women requiring surgery after breast cancer, we work closely with the Plastic Surgery Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Surgical Subspecialties Institute. The program offers women who have surgery as part of their breast cancer treatment reconstructive surgery to recreate and rebuild the missing breast with prosthetic reconstructions (implants) or autologous reconstruction.

We are one of the few centers in the UAE that provide the DIEP flap procedure, the gold standard treatment for breast reconstruction. We are also one of only a small number of centers globally to offer prophylactic lymphovenous anastomosis within our Lymphedema Service, a cutting-edge procedure which can prevent post-surgery swelling and fluid build-up in the upper extremities – a condition that affects up to 20% of breast cancer patients.


What We Treat

The cells in our body follow a natural process of dividing to reproduce when new cells are needed. If cells in the breast tissue, glands or ducts start to reproduce out of control, this can form a tumor and result in breast cancer. If these cells are normal, the tumor is called benign (non-cancerous), however, if the cells are abnormal, the tumor is known as malignant (cancerous). 

The Breast Health & Cancer Program treats a range of breast cancers and conditions, including:  

  • Breast cancer 
  • Axillary metastasis of breast cancer 
  • Breast angiosarcoma 
  • Breast infection 
  • Breast pain 
  • Breast reconstruction using tissue 
  • Breast reconstruction with implant 
  • Breast redness 
  • Breast swelling 
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) 
  • Inflammatory breast cancer 
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma 
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma 
  • Metastatic breast cancer 
  • Nipple discharge 
  • Paget’s disease of the breast 
  • Patients at high risk for breast cancer 
  • Patients with family history of breast cancer 
  • Recurrent breast cancer 

Breast Cancer Reconstruction 

Whatever the patient's age or relationship status we can always offer reconstruction to recreate the breast and improve overall self-image. Working with the Plastic Surgery Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Surgical Subspecialties Institute, we offer women who have surgery as part of their breast cancer treatment reconstructive surgery to recreate and rebuild the missing breast with prosthetic reconstructions (implants) or autologous reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue. Surgery can be done immediately at the time of mastectomy (complete removal of the breast) or delayed at any time after the patient finishes her cancer treatment. It is also possible to reconstruct breasts after partial removal of the breast (lumpectomy).  

We offer prosthetic reconstruction with silicone implants, and we also offer more complex microsurgical reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue. The most common tissue that we use is the lower abdominal tissue, otherwise known as the DIEP flap. We are one of the few centers in the UAE that provide this gold standard treatment for breast reconstruction.  

We also offer a Lymphedema Service, which offers prophylactic lymphovenous anastomosis. Currently only performed in a handful of centers worldwide, the cutting-edge procedure can prevent post-surgery swelling and fluid build-up in the upper extremities, which affects around 20% of all breast cancer patients. Performed by a specialized breast surgeon using micro instruments, the lymphatic vessel surgery is done at the time of mastectomy and clearing of axilla, reducing the risk of lymphedema occurrence to 5%.


Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women both globally and locally. Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include: 

  • A lump or thickening that feels different  
  • Any change in size, shape or appearance  
  • Changes to the skin, for example dimpling 
  • An inverted nipple 
  • Changes to the areola (skin around the nipple) such as peeling, flaking or scaling 
  • Redness or pitting on the skin (like the skin of an orange) 
  • Nipple (bloody) discharge 

Causes & Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

While there is not a specific cause of breast cancer, there are a number of controllable and non-controllable risk factors which can affect the likeliness of developing it: 

Risk factors you can control: 

  • Weight and physical activity: Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for breast cancer so it’s important to eat healthily and take regular exercise.  
  • Breastfeeding: Studies show that breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of developing the disease. 
  • Certain oral contraceptives: Some birth control pills have been linked with increased risk of breast cancer. 
  • Reproductive history: Having your first pregnancy after the age of 30, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise the risk of breast cancer. 
  • Drinking alcohol: Studies show that a woman’s risk increases with the more alcohol she drinks. 

Risk factors you can’t control: 

  • Being a woman: Although men can get breast cancer, it is much more common in women. 
  • Breast density: Your risk of breast cancer is higher if you have dense breasts. It can also make it harder to see tumors during mammograms. 
  • Getting older: Breast cancer can occur at any age but is more common in women as they get older. 
  • Reproductive factors: These include starting your period before age 12 or entering menopause after age 55. 
  • Exposure to radiation: Patients with a history of prior chest irradiation are at increased risk for breast cancer. 
  • Family history: A family history of breast or ovarian cancer or other types of cancer may elevate the risk of breast cancer. Patients with a family history of cancer may be candidates for genetic testing. 
  • Genetic mutations: Women with inherited changes to certain genes including BRCA1 and BRCA2 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. 
  • Having already had breast cancer: The risk is higher for you if you have already had breast cancer and/or certain types of benign breast conditions such as lobular carcinoma in situ, ductal carcinoma in situ, or atypical hyperplasia. 

Women at high risk should have more regular screenings to detect any anomalies early. 


Diagnosis & Treatment

Early diagnosis offers the best chance of successful treatment of breast cancer, so getting screened (having a mammography) is the first line of defense. Our diagnostic services include:

  • Digital mammography: A digital X-ray image of the breast allowing radiologist to zoom and adjust the size, brightness and contrast to detect abnormalities more easily.
  • Tomosynthesis or 3D Mammography: Only available in a few centers in Abu Dhabi, this mammogram combines multiple X-rays to create a detailed, 3D images of the breast, used for screening women who aren’t showing signs or symptoms of disease. Tomosynthesis makes it easier to detect very small cancers and reduces the number of false positives.
  • Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This imaging test uses a contrast dye to highlight different tissue structures of the breast. A scan is conducted which captures many images of the breast using magnets and radio waves to give a detailed, cross-sectional view of the breast tissue.
  • Breast ultrasound: A small, hand-held instrument called a transducer is placed against the skin. The device emits sound waves that bounce off body tissues and are converted into a digital image to detect anomalies.
  • Breast CAD (computer-aided detection): This is used along with either film or digital mammograms. The image is analyzed by a computer to provide radiologists with an image highlighting any suspicious areas that should be investigated further.
  • Minimally invasive diagnostic breast biopsies: Often performed by a radiologist or surgeon who uses computerized imaging to guide him or her in taking small tissue samples using a sterilized needle.
  • Stereotactic vacuum-assisted biopsy: A minimally invasive diagnostic technique in which a doctor uses a vacuum probe inserted into a small incision to take small tissue samples guided by mammogram images.
  • Ultrasound-guided vacuum-assisted biopsy: A minimally invasive diagnostic technique in which a doctor uses a vacuum probe inserted into a small incision to take small tissue samples guided by ultrasound images.
  • MRI guided biopsy: A minimally invasive diagnostic technique in which a radiologist uses a vacuum probe inserted into a small incision to take small tissue samples guided by magnetic resonance images of the breast. Not available anywhere else in Abu Dhabi, the technique allows doctors to take tissue samples from areas that are difficult to reach with traditional methods.
  • PET Scan: For breast cancer patients that have received a diagnosis (established).

Treatment of Breast Cancer

We offer a range of options to treat breast cancer and our breast care specialists will help to determine the best treatment plan based on type of breast cancer, size and location of the tumor, disease stage, lab test results, and the individual’s overall health.

Treatments can include:

  • Surgery: Partial or total removal of the breast and lymph nodes
  • Chemotherapy: Dug treatment which kills cells in the body which are fast-growing such as cancer cells. There are lots of different chemotherapy drugs available to treat breast cancer, and the drugs given will depend on the type of breast cancer you have, whether the cancer has spread, and your overall health.
  • Radiotherapy:]Advanced systems, such as the Ethos adaptive radiotherapy, which is a cutting-edge treatment modality that combines state-of-the-art imaging technology with advanced radiation therapy techniques. By combining powerful artificial intelligence and real-time imaging, radiation doses can be adjusted during treatment, based on the patient’s anatomy and physiology, ensuring precision whilst minimizing damage to healthy surrounding tissues.
  • Targeted therapy: These are treatments which target specific molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy for breast cancer treatment
  • Immunotherapy: A treatment which Harnesses the power of the patient's immune system to fight cancer. At present, immunotherapy is used for specific types of advanced breast cancers.
  • PARP Inhibitors: These are drugs that inhibit the PARP enzyme and are beneficial for treating some inherited breast cancers, especially those associated with BRCA mutations.
  • Neoadjuvant therapy (chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy before surgery).

Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic, and patients may have just one form of treatment or a combination. Local treatments include surgery and radiation, which are used to remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in a specific area. Systemic treatments include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy, which are used to destroy or control cancer cells throughout the body.


Prevention & Screening

Early diagnosis offers the best chance of successful treatment of breast cancer, so routine breast cancer screening (having a mammography) is the first line of defense.  

Screening helps to identify cancer before any symptoms appear, meaning that cancer can be detected at an early stage. When breast cancer is found early, it is easier to treat, and survival rates increase. 

The Department of Health recommends that women should get mammogram screening every 2 years from the age of 40, or earlier if breast cancer runs in the family. 

One Step at a Time, Together. 
Screening takes minutes to perform, but really could save your life. 

Learn More


Program Caregivers

Our Breast Health & Cancer Program doctors have extensive expertise in the field of breast health and oncology. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program includes:

  • Breast and Oncoplastic Surgeons
  • Radiation Oncologists
  • Medical Oncologists
  • Breast Radiologists
  • Reconstructive Surgeons
  • Clinic Nurses
  • Genetic Counselors
  • Physical Therapists

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