Category Archives: Arab culture

How Race, Culture Affects Breast Cancer Surgery, Reconstruction Decisions

Cheryl Perkins
Cheryl Perkins

Recently, studies have shown that African American women prefer autologous breast reconstruction with their own tissue over implant breast reconstruction. Many, including Cheryl Perkins, a Detroit neonatal nurse, choose double mastectomy over lumpectomy when diagnosed with more aggressive triple-negative breast cancer.

HiamLess is known about other cultures but the reporting we did in the large Arab community in metro Detroit found strong preferences towards lumpectomy, at least as a first choice.  “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,” offers a rare look at this issue among Arab women and showcases model programs in Dearborn, MI that encourage screening mammography and navigation help to ensure women have mammograms and followup biopsies, when needed, and that stick with women throughout a cancer diagnosis through treatment. These programs also provide a look at some exceptional translation services at Oakwood Hospital, part of the Beaumont Health System, and ACCESS, where breast cancer survivors Hiam Hamade and Ghada Aziz help women throughout cancer screening and treatment. Because of their work, more women are getting mammograms and are returning for biopsies and other advice.

We will explore the impact of race, culture and money on breast cancer surgery and reconstruction decisions in a panel discussion Sept. 29, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit.


Stigma of Cancer Delays Breast Cancer Diagnosis in Arab Women

One of our book’s most unique chapter looks at Arab culture and how it impacts a woman’s decisions about surgery and reconstruction. Arab leaders here say stigma can be so strong that women refuse to get mammograms or biopsies, even if they have a lump, because they fear their spouses’ negative reaction or they don’t want to stigmatize their children and possibly hurt their future chances at marriage. The chapter gives tips from leading multicultural program at ACCESS in Dearborn and Oakwood Hospital, where we talked to their first female Arab breast surgeon.  Hiam Hamade, left, and Ghada Aziz of ACCESS head a program that provides free and low-cost mammograms to women. But they stay the course if a woman is diagnosed with cancer and have helped many through treatment. Metro Detroit is fortunate to have programs like these.  Below, a new study finds the same stigmas common about women in the UAE.Hiam

Interviews with breast cancer survivors have suggested that some women may be hiding their condition long after finding symptoms, fearing social prejudice or…
LikeShow more reactions


60% of Arab Women Diagnosed with Advanced Tumors


While 40-60% of American women are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, 60% of Arab women are diagnosed in advanced stages. The issue there has prompted a call for mammography at age 40. Here in the U.S., the Society of Breast Imaging, the American College of Obstetricians, among others, endorse mammography starting at 40, not 50 as a federal task force and others recently have favored.

 “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstuction: What is Right for You” will have a unique chapter on breast cancer surgery and Hiamreconstruction and the Arab culture.  Hiam Hiamade and Ghada Aziz run a model breast screening and diagnosis program at ACCESS in Dearborn, where they see women coming in too late to get mammograms and some even resistant to followup.  Stigma, shame and fear too often govern important health choices. Here is a study that reinforces what we found.
DHA smart clinic marked World Cancer Day 2016