UAE: Many people ignore cancer symptoms, says minister at health conference

Fear associated with disease should be banished, says Sheikh Nahyan

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 26 Nov 2022, 3:40 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Nov 2022, 4:19 PM

Lack of public awareness about early screening and prevention of cancer is unfortunate, a UAE minister said during 10th Emirates Oncology Conference in Abu Dhabi.

Cancer, according to the World Health Organisation, continues to be a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, or nearly one in six deaths.

Opening the conference, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, noted the UAE has remained committed to the promotion of excellent health and advanced medical practice.

“President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, acts on the strong conviction that good health promotes success. He sees the improvement of the health of our people as one of our nation’s highest priorities,” the minister said in his address to oncology specialists, physicians, surgeons and allied health professionals.

Sheikh Nahyan said that under the leadership and guidance of Sheikh Mohamed, the UAE has adopted a comprehensive approach to healthcare.

“Not only do we strive to provide the best care for patients, but we also understand that health promotion and disease prevention are critical initiatives in ensuring the best public health.”

The minister said the UAE has been striving to get the most advanced technologies to detect the disease as early as possible, implement the most effective treatments and cures, and empower society to support cancer patients and their families.

He underlined that despite remarkable progress in the struggle to prevent and to treat cancer through innovations like nanotechnology, T-cell therapy, artificial intelligence and robotic surgery, the disease “will always be a major challenge” for everyone.

“There will continue to be many who could be helped with a better understanding of the disease. It is ironic that we know that more and more cancers are preventable, while at the same time public awareness of early warning signs and acceptance of suitable lifestyles are far from adequate. Unfortunately, many people ignore symptoms of cancer until the time has passed for effective treatment.”

Sheikh Nahyan urged healthcare professionals to continue to educate the public and work seeking discoveries and breakthroughs.

“We must stress the importance of knowledge about the disease and the significance of timely action. We must help improve screening, detection, and prevention procedures. We must work to remove the fear associated with cancer. And we must promote environmental and lifestyle changes. We must build our capacity to conduct original scientific research relevant to our region,” the minister added.

The conference, hosted by Tawam Hospital and the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), will conclude on Sunday.

Dr Sultan Mohamed Alkaram, CEO, Tawam Hospital, noted: “Our aim will always be to transform healthcare system services in the UAE so that our community can have access to world-class services that elevate their health and wellbeing. Crucial continuing education initiatives organised by SEHA, such as the Emirates Oncology Conference, are essential to us constantly evolving in the treatment of complex diseases such as cancer.”


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