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Middle East Medical Experts Call For Urgent Measure To Tackle Cervical Cancer

An extensive review revealed that cervical cancer is the second most common life-threatening disease7-6-2010-2 among women after breast cancer around the world. Therefore urgent measures are being called for, by medical experts to government authorities and private organizations, in the UAE, in order to tackle the risk to life caused by cervical cancer.

‘Everything I Can’ the cervical cancer campaign in the UAE discussed this matter. The special guest at the event was Dr Gregg C. Sylvester, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Director, Adolescent Vaccines, Medical Affairs and Policy, Merck Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Merck & Co., Inc and Former Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the US Centers for Disease Control. “We are grateful to the UAE Ministry of Health for its effective measures and support to various campaigns launched by the private sector to spread awareness and prevent the dangers of chronic diseases. We call upon all organizations to cooperate and work together to increase the awareness on health issues, and to educate the community about prevention techniques.” Said Dr Muna Tahlak, MD, FACOG, Consultant and Head of Obs-Gyn Dept, Al Wasl Hospital, and Director of Obs-Gyn Residency Training Programme, and Dr Saad Aswad, Senior Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist and Chairman of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, also participated in the discussions.

Dr Aswad said: “A significant increase in the incidence of cervical cancer has been noticed over the past 10 years. When I started working at Tawam hospital in the late 1990s, I used to see one cervical cancer case every month and one pre-invasive case about every two weeks. Now I see about 75-100 cases a year [about eight cases per month].” He added as stressing the importance of education and prevention through regular PAP screening, in addition to vaccination, “Most women who have cervical cancer have not had PAP smear tests for a long time. In my experience, most cases of cervical cancer in the UAE are presented for medical care in the latter stages of the disease, when chances of survival become slim.”

Dr. Sylvester said “In the early stages, cervical cancer may not show any symptoms, but if detected, it is almost 100 per cent curable. The chances of detecting cervical cancer at an early stage are greatly increased by having regular PAP smears. Hence, I always recommend my patients to have regular gynecology checkups. Most importantly, the test is quick, hassle-free and a painless procedure. This simple step can save one’s life.” He emphasized the importance of vaccine and regular PAP smears to prevent the disease, “Worldwide, one woman dies from cervical cancer every two minutes. The quadrivalent vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer. However, it does not replace regular PAP smear screening, which needs to be done on an annual basis to be able to detect the virus at an early stage.”

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