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Breast Cancer..Not Every Woman Needs to Follow Angelina Jolie


Ever since the much-publicised double mastectomy by the famous Hollywood star in May 2013, there has been quite a bit of confusion by women as to whether removing both breasts surgically is the only answer to avoid getting breast cancer. Even today, my colleagues are still being asked this question frequently.

Here are some facts regarding this:

  • Most breast cancers (90%) are not inherited.
  • The inherited form, due to alteration in the BRCA genes, account for 5-10% of cases.
  •  Routine screening by BRCA testing is not recommended. The blood test is expensive, costing anywhere between USD 1000-4000 and takes about three weeks before results are known.
  • BRCA testing is usually done where there is a related history of breast cancer. Indeed, there are specific indications for doing this test, e.g for women with two first-degree relatives with breast cancer below 50. For a full list of indications, see here.
BRAC and cancer

This graph shows how the risk of cancer is much higher in those tested positive for BRCA.

What happens if the BRCA test is positive? As such people have a very high chance of getting cancer of the ovaries and breasts, there are a few options available. It does not necessarily mean that double mastectomy is the only way out. Other options include taking medications, more intensive and regular breast cancer screening and having both ovaries removed before the age of 40. The right decision involves the patient being fully informed and playing an active role in the decision-making process.

Whatever the decision, its important to execute it immediately as procrastination is the worst enemy. Jolie’s case highlights the importance of knowing one’s family history and learning one’s cancer risks in order to address them proactively.

Dubai’s Depressive Disease Duplicates..

The financial health of Dubai appeared to have weathered the economic depression which enveloped the world 2 years ago, but events in the last few days showed that the financial capital of the Middle-East seemed to have an exacerbation of the economic disease, much like a slow-growing cancer invading into nearby blood vessels..will Dubai bleed to death?

Yesterday, Dubai World, flagship of the state corporation, announced that they were deferring  payment of all interests of loans (mainly as Islamic bonds,sukuk) by 6 months. By doing so, it raised the possibility of a second global economic meltdown as well as questioning the integrity of the desert city as the new financial centre of the world.

The main highway of Dubai, Sheikh Zahed Road, in 1991

Dubai, 14 years later in 2005

Dubai’s rise from a desert town to a megapolis has been breathtaking, fuelled by low-cost ready money and cheap foreign labour. But the recent economic crunch that has resulted in the downfall of many financial institutions (Lehman’s) as well as nations (Iceland -from fishing nation to financial powerhouse and back) is probably going to finally bite into Dubai. I had written about this possibility in February here.

For a long time, EMIRATES stood for English-managed, Indian-run, Arabs taking enormous salaries.

Now, the world holds with bated breath whether the same fate will befall Dubai and its creditors. In particular, it is estimated that half of the USD 80 billion are borrowed from banks like HSBC,RBS and Barclays. IF you need to see where some of the money went to, take a look below:

From Ports to Golf Courses to the QE2, Dubai World Extends its Grip Globally

Over the past year, there have been signs that the disease had spread:  property prices have slid by 40-50% from the highs of 2007, unemployed Indian workers have left for home, and expensive cars abandoned by retrenched expatriates at the airport

It has been reported that the ongoing construction of Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest reclamation project that boasts of buyers like David Beckham and Angelina Jolie,  delayed since 2005, has now been placed in ICU with a very poor prognosis that may be beyond resuscitation..

Last words to David Buik, senior partner at BGC Partners, who said: “You can’t just say to the world: ‘I don’t want to pay my debts’. There is no income coming in from any of these properties. I think this is shocking PR.”

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