National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Launched
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Hoffmann-La Roche and GE Healthcare will be offering support to the breast cancer awareness campaign in conjunction with the UAE Ministry of Health (MoH), General Authority for Health Services for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (GAHS), and the Department of Health and Medical Services, Dubai (DoHMS), in a unified effort to increase awareness on the importance of early breast cancer detection in the UAE.
The breast cancer campaign will run throughout the months of October and November, aiming to reach out to as many women as possible. Several private hospitals and centres across the Emirates have shown their commitment by offering discounts on mammography tests during this period. In addition, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, the Maternal and Child Health Centre in Sharjah and Alfa Medical Group in Dubai, will all be offering free mammographies for local and expatriate women during October and November. A toll free line has been set up on 800 4537, to give information on locations and working hours for all the participating centres.
Commenting on the joint breast cancer campaign, Dr. Mariam Matar, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health and Primary Healthcare, MoH, said, 'We hope to reach out to women across the UAE and urge them to make the most of all the free and discounted mammography testing centres.' 'Breast cancer may be life-threatening, but statistics show that early detection increases the chances of survival by up to 98%,' she added.
Under the slogan, 'Early detection saves lives' the National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign will have 3 main objectives: 1. Raise general public awareness surrounding breast cancer. 2. Educate women on the importance of early detection. 3. Encourage women to go for screening.
Mr. Hadher Abdullah Al Muhairi, Director of Health Provision, GAHS, said, 'While preventive measures are not a 100 per cent effective against breast cancer, research has consistently demonstrated that early detection can greatly reduce complications, thereby giving women more treatment options and a greater chance at survival.' 'Therefore we must do all that is in our power to educate people in the UAE and reinforce the importance of regular testing,' he added.
Speaking at the press conference, Mr Ekkehard Betsch, GM Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Middle East said, 'As a worldwide leader in oncology with a dedicated commitment to the region, we are proud to participate once again in this pioneering national initiative as it expands in scope and outreach.' To demonstrate its commitment, Hoffmann-La Roche will be conducting several seminars and activities at various educational institutions and corporations across the UAE in the coming two months. 'We hope the National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, 2006 fulfils its aims, reaching out to as many women as possible, and making a real difference to peoples' lives,' he added.
GE Healthcare has also shown its strong commitment to this year's breast cancer awareness campaign by providing one of its latest advanced digital mammography systems to the 'Maternal & Child Centre', in Sharjah. Isam Moursy, General Manager, GE Healthcare MEA, said, 'As part of our approach to holistic breast cancer management, our goal at GE Healthcare is to develop advanced new technologies that will enable physicians to detect breast cancer earlier, in order to diagnose it more accurately, and to monitor the patient's results following their treatment.'
Friends of Cancer Patients, a charitable organisation based in Sharjah, and Bosom Buddies, a support group in Abu Dhabi, will also be lending their support to the breast cancer awareness campaign through various activities and initiatives. Jan Barber, a survivor and patient advocate from Bosom Buddies, voiced her support for the campaign by adding, 'I consider myself lucky to have detected the disease in its early stages, and implore all women to get a yearly mammography irrespective of their family history.'
Ministry of Health statistics state that there were 140 breast cancer cases in the UAE between 1998 and 2002 alone, making it the single most commonly occuring cancer among the UAE population. It was also the most commonly occuring cancer among UAE females, accounting for 22.8 percent of the total number of diagnosed cancer cases.