Zulekha Hospital launches “Smear, Don’t Fear’ initiative to save lives
Zulekha Hospital – a leading healthcare brand in UAE- spear heads awareness on cervical cancer screening and prevention initiative to help reduce the incidence of cervical cancer and focus on its prevention, greater awareness and early detection.
The initiative aims to educate women about the symptoms, risks and prevention of the second most common cancer affecting a record number of women worldwide and help save lives across the Emirates.
The initiative has been developed by Zulekha Hospital, Dubai First & Sharjah Ladies Club as part of their CSR support targeting women between the age group of 35-55 years. While this is the high-risk group, cervical cancer can affect anyone over 25 years.
Zulekha Hospital conducted a health awareness activity at Sharjah Ladies club for their members & the ladies staff from government organizations to make them aware about the importance of this cause.
Dr. Pamela Munster – renowned cancer expert from UCSF – USA, Mrs. Zanubia Shams – CEO, Zulekha Hospitals, along with leading gynecology specialists from Zulekha Hospitals – Dr. Betty John and Dr. Basma Shehabi attended this session. The campaign is aimed at making women aware about early detection and prevention of the disease since more than 92% of cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the early stages can be successfully cured.
Speaking at the campaign launch Mrs. Khawla Al Serkal Director Sharjah Ladies Club said “There is a clear lack of awareness about cervical cancer among women, and it is important to launch such initiatives to educate them about this silent disease and how to better take care of themselves. The condition can be detected early through regular examinations and check-ups. If caught early and properly treated, cervical cancer can be cured. We appreciate efforts by Zulekha Hospital to raise women’s awareness about this disease and to encourage SLC members and staff to take on this noble cause.”
As part of a larger and ongoing outreach initiative, Zulekha Hospital is also starting an advertising campaign encouraging men to accompany their women friends and family to clinics to get tested for the HPV virus. The hospital is also offering free Specialist consultation and Pap tests to women who want to have a check-up.
Since women do not report any noticeable symptoms until after the cancer has invaded the surrounding organs or spread to the lungs, detecting the virus early is crucial. The long term goal is to implement a population-wide vaccination drive to permanently rid the UAE of the disease.
“Early detection means it is possible for the majority of cases to be cured through vaccination and we want to also help to remove the stigma that is sometimes associated with the disease as it only impacts sexually active women. Our goal is encourage women to have regular checks at their local clinic at least every three to five years,” advised Dr. Pamela Munster.
On behalf of campaign organisers Zulekha Hospital, CEO Mrs. Zanubia Shams, said, “We are very proud to be launching this awareness campaign today and our message is simple – ‘The best way to beat cervical cancer is to prevent it’.”
Meanwhile Zulekha Hospital is strengthening its capability to treat patients suffering from cancer in Dubai and the Northern Emirates through the construction of a Centre for advance specialised oncology treatment. This will include medical oncology; radiation oncology; oncology imaging and palliative medicine.
The new facility will be staffed by specialists including radiation oncologists, physicists, and radiation therapists and managed as a centre of excellence for cancer care and research. It is scheduled to open in early 2017.
Campaign organisers are also urging people to wear the cervical cancer campaign ribbon to show their support for the initiative and to help create awareness about the disease.