- For the first time in the UAE, Event dedicated to Cervical Cancer Awareness Led By Health Magazine, MSD and FOCP
United Arab Emirates: In a bid to prioritize long-term well-being, it is imperative to acknowledge that precautionary measures outweigh the need for a cure. Health Magazine, leading biopharmaceutical company MSD GCC, Pink Caravan and FOCP (Friends of Cancer Patients) joined forces to lead a pioneering initiative aimed at raising awareness about cervical cancer. Hosted at The Conrad Dubai, this collaborative effort, marked by a shared commitment to women’s health not only provided profound insights but also takeaways on preventive measures for safeguarding women’s health and well-being.
Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most common cancer in women globally, with 604,000 new cases reported in 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Alarmingly, 90% of the 342,000 cervical cancer-related deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. This recent event highlighted the joint commitment of Health Magazine, MSD, Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) and Pink Caravan to address this pressing issue.
Speaking about the initiative, Dr. Ahmed Yosry, Senior Medical Director, MSD GCC, said, “We are here to reaffirm our commitment to cervical cancer awareness and prevention. We are dedicated to steering our efforts in advancing knowledge around this disease. Through our comprehensive portfolio of a treatment as well as a preventive HPV vaccine, we are committed to protecting women from cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers.”
He added: “We actively support and collaborate with our partners in the healthcare ecosystem, including health authorities and patient organizations, to increase public awareness on cervical cancer prevention. Together, we strive to empower society to be well informed and take charge of its health, in alignment with MSD’s mission to save and improve lives.”
A recent study suggested that around 80 percent of women are exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV) in their lifetime, making it a prevalent health concern. However, the good news is that proactive screening plays a crucial role in preventing cervical cancer. Regular screening allows for the early detection of abnormal cell changes, enabling timely intervention and treatment.
Meanwhile, Mr. Majed Mohammed Ibrahim, Advocacy and Scientific Affairs Manager, Friends of Cancer Patients, added, “Screening serves as a vital tool in identifying potential issues at an early stage, paving the way for effective preventive measures. It not only enhances individual well-being but also contributes to the broader effort of reducing the overall burden of cervical cancer on healthcare systems. Regular screening, particularly through the recommended PAP smear every three years, is a crucial step in promoting women’s health and preventing the unnecessary suffering caused by cervical cancer.”
The event delved into various risk factors associated with cervical cancer, notably addressing sexual transmission and its role in development of not only cervical cancer but also certain types of head and neck cancer, while placing a strong emphasis on actionable prevention steps. Shedding light on the societal stigma surrounding the disease, the discussions aimed to increase awareness and understanding. A key highlight was the recognition of early administration of the HPV vaccine starting at the age of 9 as a crucial preventive measure, providing essential protection against cervical cancer for children, whether females or males. Lifestyle factors, particularly the impact of smoking, were underscored as contributors to cervical cancer risk.
The panel discussions, featuring esteemed experts, were led by Cervical Cancer Survivor Marianne Ignacio, Dr. Ahmed Yosry (Senior Medical Director, MSD, GCC), Dr. Arun Karanwal (Medical Oncologist, Prime Hospital), Dr. Shital Vaidya (Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Lifeline Clinic, Karama), and Mr. Majed Mohammad Ibrahim (Advocacy & Scientific Affairs Manager, FOCP).
In addition, Vignesh Unadkat, COO of Thumbay Media, concluded, “As a powerful tool for disseminating crucial health information, Health magazine stands at the forefront of promoting women’s well-being. Through collaborative efforts, we aim to create a lasting impact on overall health and well-being, providing a platform where diverse perspectives and expertise converge for the greater good.”