Dr. Rita A. Sakr – Consultant Gynecologist and Breast Oncoplastic Surgeon

Dr Rita A Sakr

Dr Rita A. Sakr (MD PhD – Ass Professor) is a French /European Board certified, American Fellow, Consultant Breast Oncoplastic Surgeon & Ob-Gynecologist with over 20 years of surgical, clinical, academic and research experience in the field. After training in both France and the USA, Dr Sakr was appointed Consultant Breast Oncoplastic Surgeon & Ob-Gynecologist in several institutions such as Institut Curie and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre before holding the position of Associate Professor and co-Head of the Breast and Gynecology Care Unit for high-risk patients at Pierre & Marie Curie Sorbonne University. She also held scientist position after obtaining a doctorate in molecular biology and studying the breast preinvasive lesions. She later relocated to Dubai. Dr Sakr is member of various clinical societies such as American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, European Society of Surgical Oncology, Emirates Oncology Society, Europa Donna. She has got more than 100 publications and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences, and was awarded many international and national recognitions. In addition to her wide surgical, clinical and academic experience, Dr Sakr has a passion for patients’ advocacy and has been actively involved in multiple associations for breast cancer survivorship in Europe, USA, and UAE.

Taking about using innovative methods, Dr. Rita shared, “Although challenging, innovations are the source of human development and improvement of quality of life. In health care, they enable us to make better use of resources and to improve the prevention methods. It is achieved by staying up-to-date through conferences and following the progress of medical technologies (drugs, implants and devices), medical procedures (new surgical techniques) or medical care organizations (palliative medicine and survivorship programs)”.

Causes of Breast Cancer:

Breast cancer is the most frequently observed cancer in women. It is a complex multifactorial disease with variations in each individual risk. Family history of a first degree relative with breast cancer, nulliparity, long-term use of menopausal hormone replacement therapy and mammographic high density may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer can be familial in 15-20%, hereditary in 5-10% and sporadic in 70-80%. Certain gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can increase the risk of specific types of breast cancer. Hormones like oestrogen can impact breast tissue and may increase the risk of breast cancer. Other factors such as older age, early menarche and late menopause, alcohol consumption, obesity and overweight, reduced physical activity, radiation exposure can also contribute to the higher risk for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Symptoms to Beware of:

While most breast cancer cases are associated with symptoms, certain types are more likely to be asymptomatic and in many cases it is detected during screening mammogram before symptoms appear. Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include a breast lump or thickened area of skin that is different from the surrounding breast tissue, a nipple that looks different with or without discharge, a change in the color or shape of the skin over the breast, a change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast. Although more frequent at older age, breast cancer can be seen in younger patients and during pregnancy. Early detection of breast cancer is essential for a better outcome and can save lives. Therefore, monthly breast self-examination, starting yearly screening mammogram at the age of 40 years, sharing personal and family history with the doctor when

coming to the yearly clinical examination are crucial steps to follow.

Breast Cancer Preventive Measures:

In addition to regular clinical visit to the doctor with monthly self-examination and mammogram screening, several preventive measures can be recommended: maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, eating healthy diet, reducing alcohol and avoiding cigarette, breastfeeding if possible, being mindful of hormone use.

Care After Breast Cancer Treatment:

The breast cancer treatment depends on the characteristics and the biology of the cancer. Although different from a patient to another, the breast cancer care should always join the mental health care to the medical and/or surgical treatment with a proper support to the patient and her family. The breast cancer care continues beyond the treatment to a life-time follow-up with proper tests and psychological support through dedicated survivorship programs.

Advice about Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding is a powerful investment in both health and bonding. It nourishes the baby and lower a mother’s risk of developing breast cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more her risk of both breast and ovarian cancers is reduced. Current Recommendations are for exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding after introducing solid foods for at least 1 year.

Breast Density:

Breast density refers to the relative amounts of different types of breast tissue seen on a mammogram. It includes glandular tissue, fibrous connective tissue, and fatty breast tissue. When breast tissue has high glandular fibrous tissue and low fatty tissue, it is considered dense. Usually half of women aged 40 years have dense breasts on mammogram. Since dense breast tissue can make it harder to detect tumors, women with dense breasts have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Symptoms to Beware of:

While most breast cancer cases are associated with symptoms, certain types are more likely to be asymptomatic and in many cases it is detected during screening mammogram before symptoms appear.

Playing Two Important Roles:

Combining both obstetrics-gynecology and breast oncoplastic surgery under a full woman health care with the same doctor can build more comfort and trust thus more efficacy of the care.

Work-Life Balance:

Talking about work-life balance, Dr. Rita shared:

“Being from a low-income family who taught me values and how to work hard as a way to get to my dreams, I started to work very early in my life and I quickly learned how to find balance between personal life, university life and work life. I do admit that my commitment to work took over my personal life during many steps of my life, especially when being a woman used to require more efforts and gender equality was not a respected rule. It did not stop me and I kept climbing the ladder from a country to another, a diploma to another, a doctorate to another, a working experience to another. During the almost 3 decades journey, I was repeating every day: Be yourself, stay humble, learn from mistakes, keep standing up and move forward, keep knocking doors and the door that is meant for you will surely open. With all ups and downs, my faith in God, in my family and in my patients always helped me to find the balance between my doctor-life, mother-life and daughter-life”.


Talking about the importance of people’s perception of a doctor, Dr Rita shares with us her views saying, “As a doctor, my self-image is shaped by my commitment to providing accurate information, empathy and always being available to assist. I strive to be a reliable resource, continuously learning and always providing a high-quality care.

Dr. Rita’s Message for Women:

“Love yourself by taking time to nurture your mind, body, spirit and certainly health. Then celebrate your unique canvas of stories, victories and scars.

Prioritize your well-being in searching for balance between your life’s strength and vulnerability. Do not let uncertainty stop you and embrace your power to pursue your dreams and to break barriers. Remember that fear is not a roadblock and that your bravery can shape the world.

Womenhood is a force. Be supportive to each other by listening to fears, wiping away tears, standing near and celebrating peers.

Always be yourself because every success, passion, even quirck or vulnerability makes you unique and extraordinary”.

Contact Dr. Rita by LinkedIn messages @dr-rita-a-sakr.