Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi experts urge screening—even among non-smokers—during Lung Cancer Awareness Month

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  • Lung cancer was the most common cause of cancer-related death in the world in 2020 according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 
  • Lung cancer symptoms can take years to develop, so early detection is crucial 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: During November, which is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a Mubadala Health partner, is encouraging members of the public to proactively get screened for lung cancer—even if they have never smoked.

While smokers are at the highest risk of lung cancer, people with a family history of lung cancer, who are over 50, or who are exposed to second-hand smoke are also at risk.

Dr. Usman Ahmad, Department Chair of Thoracic Surgery in the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said, “Lung cancer is one of the most common, complex, and aggressive forms of cancer, and the second most lethal type of cancer in the UAE. But thanks to early detection, better understanding of the disease, new treatments, and less invasive surgeries, the outlook for a person diagnosed with lung cancer is better than ever. We encourage people with a predisposition for this disease, particularly high-risk individuals with a smoking history and aged 50 years and above, to be screened at their earliest convenience.”

According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer was the second most common cancer worldwide in 2020, with 2.21 million cases and 1.8 million deaths. Despite advances in therapy, it also remains the most fatal cancer in the world. 

Secondhand smoke from other people’s cigarettes, pipes, shisha, or cigars also puts people at risk. Smoke from any burning nicotine product contains harmful toxins that remain in the air that everyone breathes in—even after a smoker is no longer nearby. People who are exposed to cigarette smoke, or its components, frequently have long-lasting pathological changes in their lungs, which can cause a malignant tumor to grow. 

Dr. Ali Saeed Wahla, Staff Physician in the Respiratory Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said, “The message is simple: early detection saves lives. Unfortunately, lung cancer is often caught too late. Patients diagnosed in the earlier stages have access to a greater range of therapeutic alternatives. At Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, we always recommend regular screening. We recommend once a year for high-risk groups, and even for people as young as 20 years old who experience reoccurring symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath or ongoing chest pain. Simple lifestyle changes that people can make—quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly—can also lower risk and help prevent the disease from developing.” 

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s multi-disciplinary lung cancer program provides customized and coordinated care. Cutting-edge technologies such as CT imaging and molecular and genetic testing help identify lung cancer early and enhance patient outcomes.  Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi also provides a wide range of diagnostic tests, such as endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and transthoracic CT-guided biopsy for early intervention, and minimally invasive treatment techniques such as video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). 

The hospital was designated as the official pilot lung cancer screening center for the emirate by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi in 2021.

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population. 

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart, Vascular & Thoracic, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.