Al Ain, 21 October, 2009: Figures just released by the nation’s specialist cancer detection and treatment centre suggest that more women are becoming aware of the dangers of breast cancer in the UAE. Over 1,100 women have been screened for breast cancer in mobile units so far this year. In 2008, the nine month figure was less than 200.
The campaign has been organized by Tawam Hospital and supported by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD), and SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, which is responsible for the curative activities of all the public hospitals in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The numbers have been released by Tawam Hospital in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine as part of the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, which will run throughout October as part of the global initiative
“When we introduced our mobile mammogram van in June, the response was very encouraging. Over a hundred women in UAE’s Western region came forward to be screened in just four days.” said Michael E. Heindel, CEO of Tawam Hospital, “While this is a positive sign that indicates that women are becoming more proactive towards their health, it also demonstrates the importance of reaching out to the public. Our breast cancer awareness campaign is an extension of our efforts and would like to thank all our sponsors, especially Al Ain Police, Al Ain Sport and Cultural Club and Al Ain Municipality for their support.”
Dr Ghowaya Mohammed Al-Neyadi, Family & Community Medicine Specialist and Coordinator for the mobile unit at Tawam Hospital said the statistics indicated a momentous step forward on the road to breast cancer education and awareness. “With the resources we have now and the increasing understanding that women in the UAE have about breast cancer, the figures are enormously encouraging. Not only is it a success for each woman who comes for a screening, but she will have friends and family who will become more aware and more confident about the mammograms.”
Dr. Shamsa Al Awar, Chairperson of Tawam Breast Cancer Awareness Committee said that the campaign was all about information, understanding and education. “With the mobile unit, there are far more opportunities for women to be screened, but it is their attitude and perspective that has really made the difference. To have gone from 188 mobile screenings in nine months last year to 1,126 screenings so far this year is a great credit to the women who have come forward and to the medical workers and campaign supporters who have encouraged them.”
This year, Tawam Hospital’s BCAC is under the theme ‘Early Detection is your Best Protection’. Fun community-focused activities are also available throughout the month including a world record attempt for the largest ribbon design, where people who attend our 3rd Annual Tawam Hospital ‘Fun Run’, organized by Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club at Al Tuwaya Public Park on Oct 23 will write their thought and comments.
Commenting on their participation, Ahmed AL Neaimi, Al Qattara Branch and external branches Manager said, “An integral part of good health is a consistent exercise program. We always encourage our members to engage in a sporting activity or fitness program to better their physical and mental wellbeing. We are delighted to offer our support in organizing the Fun Run.”
Based on the Abu Dhabi Community Profile findings prepared by the global initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness Team at HAAD, Breast Cancer has been identified to be the first of the ten most common cancers in the UAE for national and non-national women and the second cause of death accounting for 28 per cent of all female deaths in the UAE. With notable high incidence and a mortality rate of 44 per cent, due to late diagnosis, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UAE and the leading cause of deaths amongst female malignant diseases.
 The Global Initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness Team, Community profile – summary of findings, HAAD, 2008
Increased screenings around the UAE will continue throughout October and parts of November.