Early detection of cancer ups survival chances

The Gulf International Cancer Centre deals with approximately 3,000 cancer cases and receives around 700 (new) cases annually.


Olivia Olarte-Ulherr

Published: Tue 19 Aug 2014, 10:31 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:55 PM

The Gulf International Cancer Centre (GICC) sees around 3,000 patients every year, a third of whom are Emiratis. “The centre deals with approximately 3,000 cancer cases and receives around 700 (new) cases annually. Accounting for 35 per cent of all cases received are locals from across the UAE,” said Dr Aly Abdel Razek, executive director and chief of radiation oncology at GICC.

According to Razek, since the opening of the centre in 2007 in Bahiya, about 1,200 patients have been able to fight and survive cancer; a majority of whom still receive follow-up care and screening regularly.

“Breast cancer accounts for 40 per cent of the cases being treated at the centre, followed by malignant lymphoma, brain cancer, gastrointestinal and urinary system cancer,” said Dr Abdel Razek noting that most breast cancer cases were received in early stages.

GICC was acquired by Al Noor Hospitals Group in April 2014 for $21.8 million. Plans are already under way to expand its medical team and adopt more pioneering technologies and techniques for cancer treatment. Part of the plan also includes the establishment of a day surgery and early cancer detection units.

“The acquisition of GICC opens a new window of opportunity for us to add to our existing oncology services at Al Noor Hospitals Group. In the coming phase, we will be focusing on early detection,” said Dr Kassem Alom, CEO of Al Noor Hospitals Group.

“It is very important to detect cancer in its earliest stages to increase the chances of survival and to achieve complete recovery with the range of treatments available, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” he added.

According to Dr Abdel Razek two new specialists – a radiation therapist and chemotherapist – will soon join the medical team, bringing the consultants at GICC to seven. Ten radiation and chemotherapy technicians from North America and Europe will also be added to the team.

GICC offers chemotherapy treatment in three specialised rooms, which has the capacity to treat 11 patients at the same time. The centre also has the state-of-the-art PET/CT scan that detects cancerous tumours and its spread in the body, using radioactive glucose. This process enables physicians to advise the type of treatment required for each case. GICC can accommodate upto 1,400 new patients annually.

GICC received its Joint Commission International accreditation in January 2011 and was re-accredited in 2014.

According to the Heath Authority – Abu Dhabi statistics, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the emirate. It is second among UAE nationals and the third among the expatriates, and accounts for 15 per cent of total deaths.

In 2012, there were 1,729 new cancer cases and around 407 cancer deaths. Out of those who died, 34 per cent were Emiratis and 66 per cent expats; 47 per cent females and 53 per cent males. The top five killing cancers for both sexes (in order of frequency) are cancers of the breast (33 per cent of all cancers), lungs (11.8 per cent), blood (10.3 per cent), colorectal (9.8 per cent) and liver (8.6 per cent).

Meanwhile, the top five common cancers for both sexes are cancers of the breast (22 per cent of all cancers), blood (17 per cent), colorectal (9 per cent), lymph nodes (seven per cent) and thyroid gland (five per cent).


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