Breast Cancer

What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the breast and can spread to other areas of the body. It is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women in Jordan and worldwide. Breast cancer is found in men as well as women. Early detection of this cancer is crucial to successful treatment and survival.

What causes breast cancer?
Breast cancer can be inherited. If several women in your family have had breast cancer, especially your mother, sister, grandmother or even daughter, then you have an increased risk of getting it too. However, only about 5-10 percent of cases are inherited.  The causes of breast cancer are mostly unknown. High risk factors include:
• Advanced age
• Close family members affected with breast cancer
• Having a first full-term pregnancy after the age of 30
• Obesity
• Being physically inactive
• History of cancer in the uterus or ovary
• Previous exposure of radiation therapy to the chest

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a person will definitely get breast cancer. Alternatively, a person who has none of these risk factors may still get breast cancer, so regular early detection tests to screen for breast cancer are a must.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
• A painless or painful mass in the breast or axilla (where the arm connects to the shoulder)
• Bloody discharge from the breast
• Sudden change in the skin on the breast or the nipple

How is breast cancer diagnosed?
If you are a woman over 20 years of age, we strongly recommend that you take regular tests to screen for breast cancer at KHCC’s Early Detection Unit. This becomes more important if you are over 35 years old. Early detection can save your life.

Physicians use the following tests to screen for breast cancer at KHCC:
 • Clinical examination
 • Mammograms
In addition, physicians at KHCC’s Early Detection Unit show you how to perform breast examinations on yourself so that you are able to detect any abnormalities and report any concerns to your physician.

For patients known or suspected to have breast cancer, KHCC offers comprehensive diagnostic and staging mechanisms in order to correctly diagnose the stage of breast cancer. Diagnosis is made through evaluating results of tests taken through:
• Clinical breast examination
• State-of-the-art digital mammography machine
• State-of-the-art pathological evaluation
• Central lymph node biopsies
• MRI scan
• Ultrasound (ultrasonography)
• CT scan to screen for any spread of the cancer to other internal organs
• Bone scan to screen for any spread of the cancer to the bones
• PET scan which is useful for highly accurate staging in difficult cases

How is breast cancer treated at KHCC?
KHCC is highly specialized in treating breast cancer. The physicians who treat breast cancer see around 400 cases of breast cancer a year, and are experienced in treating difficult cases. KHCC was the first hospital in Jordan to implement a multidisciplinary team approach to treating breast cancer. The breast cancer team not only offers treatment to eliminate the tumor, but additional therapies and supportive services ensure that breast cancer patients receive the most well-rounded care possible.

Depending on the patient’s specific stage of breast cancer, physicians at KHCC may use surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue, or remove the entire breast (total mastectomy). There are several surgical approaches to breast cancer at KHCC: lumpectomy (breast conserving), mastectomy and skin-sparing/nipple-sparing surgery. 

For patients who must undergo a mastectomy, there is a surgical team specialized in reconstructive surgery at KHCC to restore breast shape and appearance.

Additional treatments usually follow surgery and may include: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone and biological therapies. In certain cases when the tumor is inoperable or the patient wishes to preserve their breast, chemotherapy is used before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it operable.
At KHCC, breast cancer patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer specialists that is entirely devoted to diagnosing and treating breast cancer.

Supportive Care
The breast cancer multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that breast cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include:
  • Breast Cancer Educational Clinic: this is a group of clinical nurse coordinators, medical professionals and breast cancer survivors who speak to every newly-diagnosed breast cancer patient at KHCC. They talk to the patient about every aspect of their treatment, such as how to deal with surgery, what to eat during treatment and how live with cancer. The educational clinic is vital in helping patients address their concerns with staff and survivors in a friendly and caring environment and to help them keep a positive outlook regarding their diagnosis and treatment.
  • Wig salon: For breast cancer patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatment, a wig salon is available at KHCC to offer an array of different wigs to suit each patient’s needs
  • Special bras: KHCC offers special bras to breast cancer patients who have undergone surgery.
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Psychosocial support
  • Spiritual care
  • Physical therapy
  • Nutrition
  • Respiratory care
  • Cancer support groups