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UAE Doctors Participate in Worldwide Cancer Awareness Campaign

Dubai The slogan of the International Union against this year is: “If you love someone, tell them they stink”.

You can click on a heart-shaped button on the Union’s website and send that message to someone who smokes.

The World Health Organization (Who) believes tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world today. Smoking causes 80 per cent of all lung cancer deaths, including deaths from cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, oesophagus and stomach.

The Who theme for World Cancer Day, which is today, is: “Cancer Can Be Prevented Too.”

Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, secretary-general of the Friends of the Cancer Society, Sharjah, reiterates that if people take some simple measures, they can live better and fuller lives.

“Cancer is no longer a killer disease if you catch it in the early stages,” she says. The Society is offering HPV (human papillomavirus ) at reduced prices to girls and women. She recommends girls ages 12 to 13 take the vaccine to guard against the cancer. The vaccine is offered free to girls between the ages of 15 and 17 in Abu Dhabi

Negative reaction

Parents however, frown on this offer.

“There’s a law in our society about women having sex before marriage,” explains Dr Sa’ad Aswad, head of division and gynaecologist-oncologist at Al Tawam Hospital.

But he notes in the UK there has been a 50 per cent drop in cervical cancer after girls were given the vaccine.

Al Madhi recommends screening for breast cancer at the age of 30 and for prostrate cancer at the age of 30 for men if there is a family history of that cancer.

But the number of cancer cases in the UAE is increasing. The cause is attributed to prolonged exposure to pollution and other carcinogens, says Dr Falah Al Khatib, consultant clinic oncologist at the Gulf International Cancer Centre.

Education campaigns against smoking and screening for breast cancer are not working as desired, he said.

He however, expects the recent anti-smoking law to have an impact in the coming years.

Al Khatib bemoans the fact most campaigns are seasonal and not well planned and efforts are fragmented between emirates and various organizations.

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