Zulekha Hospital breaks cancer taboo with new health awareness initiative

Zulekha Hospital breaks cancer taboo with new health awareness initiative

05.09.2016: Pioneering cancer campaign launched to help educate UAE residents; encourage the

Pioneering cancer campaign launched to help educate UAE residents;   encourage the public to get take advantage of free check-ups

 From left to right: Zulekha Hospital’s ‘Watch Your Back’ campaign organisers and ambassadors: Dr Zulekha Daud, founder of Zulekha Hospitals; Prof Dr Robert S Warren, UCSF; Dr Abdalla AlNaqbi, Ministry of Health; Dr. Rashmi C. Patel, Zulekha Hospital Dubai; Dr Tarek AlKhouri, Zulekha Hospital; Dr Shareej S, Zulekha Hospital; and Dr. Adil Daud, UCSF.

Zulekha Hospital has launched a new health awareness campaign to challenge the taboos and embarrassment surrounding colorectal (colon) cancer and to help save lives across the UAE.

In line with the UAE government aim to cut cancer fatalities by 18 percent by 2021, in association with the Ministry of Health (MOH), Zulekha Hospital has developed the ‘Watch Your Back’ campaign to stress the importance of regular checks for early detection and to educate the wider public about the screening process that can eliminate the disease.

The first of its kind campaign was launched this morning (Monday) at a press conference featuring cancer experts and campaigners who highlighted the need for urgent action as colon cancer is the second most common and fatal cancer in the UAE, according to statistics published by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD).

Zanubia Shams, Co-Chairperson of Zulekha Hospitals, said that awareness campaigns are the most effective way of removing taboos surrounding various diseases and ensuring all people at risk are aware of prevention and treatment opportunities.

“Colorectal cancer is a silent killer in the UAE, surrounded by social awkwardness and a lot of embarrassment, but we want to impress upon the public that there is no need for that,” she said. 

“We faced similar social barriers when we started our breast and cervical cancer awareness campaigns three years ago. 

“They proved to be a tremendous success, with thousands of women getting screened and receiving relevant consultations and treatment.  We expect no less success this time and encourage those at risk to make a check-up appointment.”

During the launch ceremony Dr Adil Daud, Professor, one of the two campaign ambassadors from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and its Melanoma Program Haematology-Oncology Director, said that such public awareness campaigns are vital for disease prevention and health promotion, and that the negative perception of colon cancer actually prevents people from receiving accurate information.

“According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer among men is about one in 20 and this risk is only slightly lower among women, so we have to talk about this disease openly,” he said.

“We want to make sure all members of our community know that this type of cancer is common, but most importantly we want them to know how they can protect themselves from developing it.”

Dr Daud, who recently made a discovery of a unique type of immune-system cell that can change the future of cancer treatments, was joined in a panel discussion by his colleague Prof Dr Robert S Warren, Professor Department of Surgery, Chief of Surgical Oncology, UCSF, and three leading specialists from Zulekha Hospital Dubai: Dr Shareej S, Specialist Gastroenterologist, Dr. Rashmi C. Patel, Specialist General Surgery and Dr Tarek AlKhouri, Specialist Medical Oncologist.

The five practitioners discussed surgical aspects of colon cancer, treatment options and the importance of screening – the only effective way to prevent the disease.

Speaking on the occasion was also Dr Abdalla AlNaqbi, the Director of Pharmacy Department, MOH, and the campaign’s guest of honour, who pledged to support Zulekha Hospital in their efforts to decrease cancer fatalities across the country. 

He said: “The Ministry of Health is glad to join hands with Zulekha Hospital in creating mass awareness among the UAE residents on a critical health disorder - colorectal cancer.

While not many people relate to the decease today, such awareness initiatives play a significant role in educating our communities, encouraging early detection and eliminating the decease over a period of time.”

 Dr Abdalla AlNaqbi, Ministry of Health, Dr. Adil Daud, UCSF, and Ms Zanubia Shams, Co-Chairperson of Zulekha Hospitals, sign the ‘Watch Your Back’ campaign pledge to prevent colorectal cancer.

As part of the new awareness programme, women and men in the UAE can take advantage of free specialist consultations and tests with surgeons and gastroenterologists at Zulekha Hospitals in Dubai and Sharjah until 5 October by registering online on crc.zulekhahospitals.com or by calling 600524442. The hospital also offers a 50% discounted rates on colonoscopy, laboratory and radiology tests.

Developed and launched in Dubai for the first time, the ‘Watch Your Back’ campaign is one of Zulekha Hospital’s key CSR initiatives, stressing the importance of regular checks for early detection and educating the wider public about screening opportunities that can prevent different types of cancer.

-- Lindsay Johnston, Total Communications Dubai - also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/zulekha-hospital-breaks-cancer-taboo-health-initiative---154656.html

05.09.2016 / MaP

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