MSD joins hands with Emirates Oncology Society and Friends of Cancer Patients for EMBRACE campaign to support Breast Cancer Awareness

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  • EMBRACE highlights the significance of regular screening to ensure early detection 
  • The campaign which will run throughout October on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness month

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, together with Emirates Oncology Society and Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), has announced the launch of EMBRACE, a campaign to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. The partners will work together throughout the month to roll out a series of offline and online activities designed to raise awareness of breast cancer, encourage regular check-ups and to ensure early diagnosis. 

The campaign focuses on the importance of self-examinations, asking women to check their breasts for pain, changes in size or lumps or increased swelling under their armpits and not to delay clinical examinations and regular mammograms. Dubai landmarks, the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Frame, will be lit up in pink, the traditional color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, on 19 October. Other activities include free screening for the public at the Friends of Cancer Patients’ Pink Caravan at Dubai Frame on 29 October. 

Ashraf Malak, Managing Director, MSD, GCC said, “With the EMBRACE campaign, our goal is to raise awareness for early checkups so that we can empower people to happily embrace their tomorrow. Patients are at the center of all we do and are deeply embedded in our company’s DNA and our legacy of over 130 years. We are working to help prevent and treat cancer wherever possible in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. To that end we continue to invest in research and development across the oncology space to deliver breakthrough innovations such as immunotherapies.  Along with partners such as Emirates Oncology Society and Friends of Cancer Patients, we hope to encourage more women to get checked early for breast cancer, helping to improve survival of patients diagnosed with this disease.”

Dr Humaid Al Shamsi, President of Emirates Oncology Society commented, “The most common form of cancer among women in the UAE, 1,030 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the country last year. While the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer will be over 50, a small percentage of women under 45 will also receive a positive diagnosis. If detected early, there is a 99 percent chance of a five-year survival rate. Considering that among younger patients, a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer known as Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for about 10-15 percent of all cases, it is imperative to stress that women everywhere acknowledge the importance of regular checks and early diagnosis. It is important to know the signs, exercise and to maintain a healthy body weight.”

According to Globocan 2020, 222 individuals in the UAE die every year ranking as a number one cause of mortality with 11.7 percent of those diagnosed succumbing to the disease. Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of breast cancer that characteristically has a high recurrence rate within the first five years after diagnosis. While some people with breast cancer may test positive for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor or overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), people with TNBC test negative for all three.

Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General, FOCP, added, “According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year relative survival rate is as high as 99 percent. This powerful statistic is a driving force for FOCP’s Pink Caravan initiative, which has been travelling across the UAE since 2011, raising awareness on the issue, offering free screenings and expert medical assistance, promoting healthy lifestyles and empowering the nation’s citizens and residents to safeguard themselves against the risk of this disease. Yes, TNBC is very aggressive with the worst survival rates compared to other subtypes, but at the same time, the earlier that cancer is detected, the easier it can be beaten. This is why I urge the UAE to come forward and join us throughout October, as we reinforce our key messages of early detection and timely diagnosis through 21 mobile clinics offering free breast screenings, 12 expert medical consultations, and educational awareness lectures in English and Arabic, and our popular Pink Steps’ challenge.

The Pink Caravan has facilitated more than 75,000 clinical examinations between 2011and 2020 across the seven emirates, including 13,000 cases detected amongst men. 

About MSD:

For more than a century, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world’s most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola.  

MSD products has been present for over 30 years in the GULF region through its local distributors in the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar & Oman and MSD ranks amongst the leading pharmaceutical companies in the region. MSD provides innovative medications in several therapeutic areas, including Anti-Infectives, Diabetes, HCV, HIV, Oncology and Anesthesia in addition to several specialized Vaccines.