'Best birthday ever': UAE breast cancer patient gets sweet surprise from doctor, nurses

For the last three months, Marwa Harb's journey through intensive treatments has shown positive results


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Sat 18 May 2024, 1:52 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 May 2024, 3:18 PM

Marwa Harb, an Egyptian breast cancer patient in the UAE, recently celebrated her 52nd birthday at the Canadian Specialist Hospital.

Waking up to a room decorated with balloons, as well as a birthday note and cake waiting for her, she couldn't help but say: “It's the best birthday ever."

“The celebration was not just about marking a birthday party but also reinforcing the message that she is not alone in her fight,” noted the doctors and nursing staff who helped arrange the celebration for Harb.

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Harb was diagnosed with breast cancer four months ago, where she was put on a rigorous treatment plan that included neoadjuvant immunotherapy and chemotherapy.

For the last three months, her journey through these intensive treatments has shown positive results, according to Dr Ali Ghazzawi, medical oncology specialist at the Canadian Specialist Hospital who has been at the forefront of Harb's treatment.

He praised Harb’s courage in fighting the disease. “This is more than a birthday celebration. It’s a test of her courage and the incredible progress she has made do far," said Dr Ghazzawi.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

“Her positive response to the combined immunotherapy and chemotherapy highlights not just the advancements in cancer treatment, but also her incredible strength,” he added.

According to the Dr. Ghazzawi, Harb’s treatment involved a combination of neoadjuvant immunotherapy and chemotherapy.

Neoadjuvant immunotherapy is a treatment given as a first step to shrink tumour before the main treatment, which is usually surgery.

“The use of immunotherapy, which harnesses the body's immune system to fight cancer cells, in conjunction with chemotherapy, which uses drugs to destroy cancer cells, represents a cutting-edge approach in oncology. This combination has proven effective in Harb’s case, as evidenced by her positive response and the significant reduction in her tumour size,” said Dr Ghazzawi.

Cancer treatment

The cancer treatment is a difficult journey for a patient, often testing their physical and emotional endurance.

“Harb’s progress is not just a result of medical intervention but also her formidable spirit and the support she has received from her family,” said the doctor.

As Harb continues to respond well to the neoadjuvant treatment, the medical team is positive about the next phase of her treatment, which is curative surgery.

“This procedure will remove any remaining cancerous tissues, paving the way for her to achieve full remission. The preparation for this surgery involves careful planning and consideration, ensuring that she is in the best possible condition to undergo the procedure,” noted Dr Ghazzawi.

“I am very much thankful to the team of doctors and nurses who made the day very special and memorable. I feel so much stronger now," commented Harb.


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