16% of total deaths in Abu Dhabi due to cancer.
Cancer is still a daunting challenge and the complexity of its care requires healthcare professionals, experts and researchers from across the world to join hands in developing an effective solution, a top UAE government official told a cancer conference in the Capital.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, said there has been rapid and extraordinary progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. But despite that progress, however, cancer remains a “formidable challenge”.
“The complexity of cancer care requires healthcare professionals across a spectrum of backgrounds and expertise to come together to learn from one another to fight against the cancer burden,” he said.
Sheikh Nahyan made the comments during his inauguration speech at the seventh edition of the International Oncology Conference that kicked off in Abu Dhabi on Friday. The conference is hosted by Mena Conference under the support of VPS Healthcare and Burjeel Medical City.
Sheikh Nahyan urged researchers and experts to work together for the shared goal of developing an effective solution to the multi-faceted demands of cancer care. “We need effective solutions to the health challenges we all face. Patients and their parents need to be treated with passion and tolerance throughout their cancer journey,” he said, adding that the UAE is totally committed to providing the best health care and medical education in the region and furthermore to make their mark on a global level.
The two-day conference gathered eminent personalities from acclaimed institutions to discuss topics along the theme ‘Working Together to Improve Cancer Care’ and the latest developments in healthcare.
Cancer cases to double by 2030
A recent study showed that about 4,500 new cases of cancer are reported in the UAE annually and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of cancer cases in the Middle East region, including the UAE, are expected to double by 2030.
Colorectum cancer topped the list of people diagnosed with cancer in the UAE at 437 cases in 2018 in men followed by prostate at 252, leukaemia at 151, bladder at 146 and lung at 145. The number of men who died due to cancer was 1,102, higher than women at 997.
In females, the highest number of cases was breast cancer with 1,054 cases followed by thyroid at 279, colorectum at 225, uterus at 187 and cervix at 108.
According to the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, cancer is the third leading cause of death in Abu Dhabi and accounts for 16 per cent of total deaths.
Dr Garth Powis, director of the Sanford Burnham Prebys NCI-Cancer Centre and a member of the Scientific Committee for the VPS Healthcare’s Seventh International Oncology Conference, said: “Regular screening for cancer is of paramount importance.
There is enough evidence to suggest that most cancers can be treated and in some cases, be prevented. Be it breast self-exams, pap smears, genetic tests, colonoscopies, there are various types of screenings available and people should be made aware about these, especially in the Middle East as dedicated awareness programs are lacking in this part of the world.”
Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, VPS Healthcare chairman and managing director, said: “Conferences are a great platform where we can listen to the world’s best talents and learn about the latest developments and ongoing research in the field. This year’s conference is very important for us as we are opening Burjeel Medical City in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi.
“The multi-specialty hospital will devote significant resources toward developing clinical research programmes and trials to develop customised approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and drug development for immunotherapy and molecularly targeted therapies.”
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