Cervical cancer awareness drive launched in UAE

DUBAI — On an average 43 women in the UAE died due to cervical cancer in each of the years 2005 and 2006, according to the annual report published by the Preventive Health Department in the Ministry of Health (MoH).

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 9 Jul 2008, 1:36 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:07 PM

This number is second only to breast cancer which claims the lives of about 100 women every year, said Dr Ali Ahmed bin Shukr, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Support Services in the MoH.

The details were announced yesterday at the launch of an educational network by the ministry, the Emirates Cervicare Network (ECN), to raise awareness of cervical cancer and its prevention.

The network has been launched in collaboration with the Health Authority Abu Dhabi and the Emirates Medical Association.

"Cervical cancer is among the leading causes of death amongst women in the UAE. According to recent WHO reports, cervical cancer is the second largest disease amongst women in the United States," Dr Bin Shukr said.

He explained that the UAE campaign for cervical cancer prevention is seeking to spread awareness of the diseases and ways to prevent the spread of the disease and support women who are living with cervical cancer.

Dr Bin Shukr called on the society for additional support to the awareness initiatives by the MoH and private sector groups.

Dr Haifa Hamad Fares, family medicine specialist in the MoH, insisted on the importance of regular check-ups and advice from gynaecologists on early diagnosis for cancer.

The spokesperson for Emirates Cervicare Network (ECN), Dr Mouzah Ghubash, emphasised on the need to correct the misconceptions about the disease to save the lives of thousands of women.

Cervical cancer is cancer in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb) and is caused by repeated infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is usually transmitted through sexual contact.

"Public health networks, such as ECN, are valuable and greatly needed in the UAE today so that important messages may be spread in each community," said Dr Amira Ismail Aladab, a representative of the Emirates Medical Association.

Dr Awatif Al-Bahar, consultant gynaecologist and head of the department at the Canadian Specialist Hospital, said cervical cancer is preventable.

"All women are at risk of contracting cervical cancer and they may not be aware that they have a cervical HPV infection because these infections are generally painless and without symptoms," said Dr Awatif adding that, "regular screening and vaccination can save a woman's life."

Every year 500,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and nearly 250,000 women die each year as a result of this disease, says WHO.

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