17 October 2019, UAE: In honour of International Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Ambulance Youth Council recently organised an awareness session entitled “Get Checked today!” in collaboration with Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women and Children, which was held at National Ambulance Headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The objective of the session was to raise awareness amongst female employees and visitors about breast cancer and the importance of early detection, as well as encouraging them to look after their general health and wellbeing.
The workshop, which was presented by Dr. Tina Kokalj, Specialist of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Danat Al Emarat Hospital, discussed the causes of breast cancer, as well as the signs and early symptoms of the disease. It also highlighted the importance of regular breast screening, including self-breast examination and how it’s done, information on mammography screening and the importance of early detection which can lead to a better outcome and an increased survival and successful treatment and recovery rates.
Commenting on this important issue, Ahmed Saleh Al Hajeri, National Ambulance CEO, said: “breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the world. This session comes as part of our continuous awareness campaigns to instill a culture of safety and prevention, and also encourage our staff and people in the community to look after their health, safety and wellbeing. It is also important to unify the efforts across the private and public sector in the fight against breast cancer by encouraging women to undergo regular screening and highlight its importance in early medical intervention if the disease is present which leads to a higher rate of recovery and survival.”
Dr. Sadoon Sami Sadoon, Chief Medical Officer, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery Consultant at Danat Al Emarat Hospital emphasised the importance of raising awareness about breast screenings and early detection of breast cancer. “The earlier a tumor is detected and treated, the better the outcomes are. International studies confirm that early diagnosis of breast cancer lead to higher survival rates of above 90%, whereas the survival rates of late diagnosis—stages 2 and 3—range between 60% and 70%. Danat Al Emarat Hospital organises awareness programmes and talks to encourage women to do tests for early detection of cancers, like breast cancer and cervical cancer, all year long and we collaborate with key universities, schools and corporate organisations on holding awareness events at their facilities. Through our interaction with National Ambulance female employees, we have witnessed their interest in knowing more about this disease and its early detection.”
During the interactive session, an inspirational story was shared by a member of National Ambulance. Latifa Ali Abdulrahman, a breast cancer survivor and Chair of Bosom Buddies- a support group for breast cancer patients in Abu Dhabi, had little knowledge on breast cancer prior to her diagnosis: “I am a fortunate survivor and I urge all women to do all they can in taking care of their wellbeing and preventing breast cancer. It is vital that we spread awareness about the importance of early screening and self-checking amongst all women. The more we know, the earlier we can detect it, which leads to greater chances for successful treatment and better outcomes; not only for women but also for the families and communities of which they are part of.”
Dr. Sadoon also noted that Danat Al Emarat Hospital is accredited by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DOH) as a screening center for breast cancer in Abu Dhabi. Its Medical Imaging Department contains advanced equipment, including a mammogram unit and state-of-the-art ultrasound devices, and led by a highly qualified team of radiologists. He added, “The awareness campaigns organised by Danat Al Emarat Hospital come in line with the Department of Health Abu Dhabi priorities, and our collaboration with National Ambulance is a good opportunity to spread awareness about the importance of self-examination and to highlight the protocols of breast screening and the benefits of early detection of breast cancer. Women 40 years old and above should do the mammogram test and make it a priority, minimum every 2 years according to DOH standards, knowing that breast cancer is the second most common cancer between women around the world, and at the same time it can be treated completely, especially if it is detected at an early stage.” Dr. Sadoon concluded.