1.82m at the risk of cervical cancer in UAE
Zulekha Hospital launches its third cervical cancer awareness campaign 'Smear Don't Fear'
Though the UAE has come a long way in raising awareness about cervical cancer among women, a report released in February has said that 1.82 million females are at the risk of the disease in the country.
Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, Director of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Health Regulation and Dubai Medical Tourism Project, who attended the Zulekha Hospital's third edition of its campaign against the disease, said: "People don't really think about it much, because there is a cultural sensitivity when talking about cervical cancer.
"We had the same issue when we first started talking about breast cancer in the UAE. People were reluctant to talk about breast cancer in the media and in public, or tell their father or brothers about a breast cancer campaign."
Zulekha Hospital launched its drive, Smear Don't Fear, at an event in Jumeirah Emirates Tower on Monday.
As part of the new campaign, women in the UAE can have free specialist consultations and Pap tests at Zulekha Hospitals in Dubai and Sharjah until August 31.
It was in February this year that the HPV Information Centre revealed that 1.82 million females in the UAE residents are at risk of developing cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
As part of the new campaign, women in the UAE can have free specialist consultations and Pap tests at Zulekha Hospitals in Dubai and Sharjah until June 30.
The campaign has a long-term goal of eradicating cervical cancer in the UAE by promoting and implementing a country-wide (HPV) vaccination initiative.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for both boys and girls under the age of 13, and can prevent most cases of the disease if given before the female is exposed to the virus.
This year's campaign is themed 'Today is the Day', with an objective of educating women about the symptoms, risks and prevention.
Symptoms of cervical cancer
> Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
> Bleeding of spotting between menstrual periods
> Bleeding after sex
> Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before
> Bleeding after menopause
> More discharge than usual
> Pain in the pelvis or lower back
> Pain during sexual intercourse
Humaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the Board and Director General of the DHA, Neeta Bhushan, Deputy Chief of Mission and Head of Chancery, Embassy of India, and a number of leading gynaecology specialists from Zulekha Hospital were also present at the launch event of the campaign.
"This is the third time we're extending our support to Zulekha Hospital in their effort to spread the message that cervical cancer can be easily prevented and effectively cured, if detected in the early stage," Al Qatami said.
"Public awareness campaigns are vital to educate the community as cervical cancer is catching up," she added.
Zanubia Shams, Co-Chairperson of Zulekha Hospitals, said: "Worldwide statistics list cervical cancer as the second most common cancer among females between 15 and 45 years of age and we want to highlight both the risk of the disease and the importance of regular checks,"
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