- reast cancer is the most common cancer in the UAE and accounted for 21.4% of new cancer cases in the country in 2020, according to the Globocan 2020 study
- Titled ‘Take Action,’ Pfizer aims to bring greater awareness in the UAE around Metastatic Breast Cancer as the most advanced stage of breast cancer.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: To drive greater awareness around breast cancer disease, Pfizer has launched phase two of its AfME campaign in the UAE. Titled ‘Take Action,’ the campaign seeks to empower and support breast cancer patients in the UAE to fight against the disease through its work with the UAE patient society ‘Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP).’ Pfizer and FOCP held a media roundtable to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Metastatic Breast Cancer Day that falls on the 13th of October. Pfizer has been partnering with FOCP since 2017. The roundtable also included highlights of a battle and journey from a cancer survivor in the UAE, shedding light on how other patients can get the information and take the necessary steps to fight the disease better. The roundtable also addressed hereditary factors and breast cancer, lifestyle choices, and substituting self-exams completely for regular mammography screening.
According to the Globocan 2020 study, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UAE and will account for 21.4% of new cancer cases in 2020. Moreover, it impacts over 247,000 people across Africa and the Middle East (AfME). Early-stage breast cancer is when cancer cells have not spread beyond the breast or axillary lymph nodes. However, in AfME, 50-60% of breast cancer patients are in locally advanced or advanced stages at initial diagnosis., Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, and it occurs when cancer spreads to other parts of the body, such as the lung, brain, liver, and bones.
Dr. Nadine Tarcha, Gulf Medical Director, Pfizer, commented: “At Pfizer, we remain committed to improving patients’ lives and supporting them at each step of their breast cancer journey. Across the region, patients are diagnosed with late or advanced-stage cancer at a higher incidence rate than other regions globally. There is a distinct need for more awareness campaigns to regularly encourage patients to check themselves for breast cancer and better understand the disease. Moreover, over the past decade, improved diagnostics, and newer treatment options for late-stage breast cancer, including those with different gene abnormalities, offer new horizons and hope for these patients.”
Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), added: “This month, we are proud to partner with Pfizer to help empower patients in the ongoing battle against breast cancer in the UAE. We recognize that there is still more work to improve the outlook for people living with breast cancer, including those with metastatic HR+, HER2-, triple-negative, and BRCA-mutated breast cancers, and those with the early-stage disease may be at an elevated risk of recurrence. Several misconceptions around breast cancer and particularly metastatic breast cancer still exist today.”
Dr. Sawsan added: “Over the past few years, new treatments were approved, significantly controlling disease progression, and improving patients’ quality of life. With better awareness, prevention, treatment, and access to diagnostics, early detection could save between 2.4 and 3.7 million lives each year globally. “
According to WHO, breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women worldwide, with more than 2 million women impacted annually. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any signs or symptoms of the disease. However, there are sometimes changes in the breast that a woman may notice. While rare, men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. For men, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 833.
In 2020, Pfizer launched ‘Take Action’ across AfME to take early detection seriously and help friends and families by encouraging regular self-examination and conversations with their doctors. Through the campaign, Pfizer also reminded healthcare providers and nurses to employ technologies per their respective approvals to have open conversations and support patients who might feel overwhelmed, powerless, and isolated during these challenging times with the global pandemic.
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