Cervical Cancer Awareness Initiative Launched by Zulekha Hospital to Save Lives

Early Detection and Vaccination Key to Reducing Incidence of Second Most Common Cancer Affecting Women

4206A new UAE-wide cervical cancer awareness initiative has been launched by Zulekha Hospital - a leading Healthcare brand in UAE - to help reduce the incidence of cervical cancer and focus on its prevention, greater awareness and early detection.

The initiative aims to educate women about the symptoms, risks and prevention of the second most common cancer affecting a record number of women worldwide and help save lives across the Emirates.

The initiative has been developed by Zulekha Hospital with the active support of the Friends of Cancer Patients support group in the UAE and targets women between the age group of 35-55 years. While this is the high-risk group, cervical cancer can affect anyone over 25 years.

The Initiative was launched at a press conference where eminent doctors and cancer campaigners spoke about the disease and the single most effective way to combat it. Speakers included H.E. Dr. Mariam Matar - Founder & Chairperson, UAE Genetic Diseases Association, Ms. Lize de Jonges (Representative - FOCP) Dr. Pamela Munster - renowned cancer expert from UCSF - USA, Mrs. Zanubia Shams - CEO, Zulekha Hospitals, along with leading gynaecology specialists from Zulekha Hospitals – Dr. Betty John and Dr. Tejashree Singh.

The campaign is aimed at making women aware about early detection and prevention of the disease since more than 92 per cent of cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the early stages can be successfully cured.

Speaking at the campaign launch Ms. Lize de Jonges said: “This is a fantastic initiative and the Friends of Cancer Patients are delighted to support this campaign. Awareness campaigns play a vital role in educating women about the success rate of early detection of cancers.

“We will be working closely with Zulekha Hospital in the weeks and months ahead to ensure that this is a long-term initiative that generates a real impact on women across the UAE.”

Dr. Mariam Matar added: “Women tend to ignore their health and we want more of them to be aware that cervical cancer can be prevented with a simple one-time vaccine. This initiative by Zulekha Hospital is truly commendable, particularly because it encourages more men to take active interest in the health and wellbeing of their women family members and friends.”

As part of a larger and ongoing outreach initiative, Zulekha Hospital is also starting an advertising campaign encouraging men to accompany their women friends and family to clinics to get tested for the HPV virus. The hospital is also offering free Specialist advice and Pap smear tests to women who want to have a check-up.

Since women do not report any noticeable symptoms until after the cancer has invaded the surrounding organs or spread to the lungs, detecting the virus early is crucial. The long term goal is to implement a population-wide vaccination drive to permanently rid the UAE of the disease.

“Early detection means it is possible for the majority of cases to be cured through vaccination and we want to also help to remove the stigma that is sometimes associated with the disease as it only impacts sexually active women. Our goal is encourage women to have regular checks at their local clinic at least every three to five years,” advised Dr. Pamela Munster.

On behalf of campaign organisers Zulekha Hospital, CEO Mrs. Zanubia Shams said: “We are very proud to be launching this awareness campaign today and our message is simple – ‘The best way to beat cervical cancer is to prevent it.’”

Meanwhile Zulekha Hospital is strengthening its capability to treat patients suffering from cancer in Dubai and the Northern Emirates through the construction of a Centre for advance specialised oncology treatment. This will include medical oncology; radiation oncology; oncology imaging and palliative medicine.

The new facility will be staffed by specialists including radiation oncologists, physicists, and radiation therapists and managed as a centre of excellence for cancer care and research. It is scheduled to open in early 2017.

Campaign organisers are also urging people to wear the cervical cancer campaign ribbon to show their support for the initiative and to help create awareness about the disease.

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