Complex Made Simple

Experts raise concern on the lack of awareness about ovarian and cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent female cancer in UAE followed by ovarian cancer1

Recognizing the need to raise higher awareness in UAE on cervical cancer and ovarian cancer, Roche Media Academy brought together leading medical experts and journalists to organize an informative session themed “Women’s Cancer in UAE: Cervical and Ovarian Cancer” in Dubai. They emphasizedthe importance of understanding these diseases and adopting appropriate measures for early detection and treatment, while encouraging women to be more communicative about gynecological concerns.

While there is high awareness about breast cancer, women do not pay attention to symptomsassociated with cervical and ovarian cancers. After breast cancer, cervical and ovarian cancers are amongst the most prevalent cancers in women in UAE accounting for significant fatality.1

“Half of cervical cancer cases occur in women aged 25–44 years, a period of life during which women are at their most productive at work, are of childbearing age and are often raising a family.7However not many women understand the gravity of the situation. Timely screening enables early identification and removal of pre-cancerous lesions, significantly reducing the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer.The most commonly used test to detect cervical cancer is the ‘Pap smear’ – but this method can miss instances of cervical cancer in women. This is why additional testing for a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV) is vital for women.” said Dr. Hassan Jaafar, Consultant Oncologist, Department of Oncology, Tawam Hospital

Cervical cancer is the cancer of the entrance to the uterus (womb), also known as the neck of the womb. For most women with locally advanced disease, combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy is recommended.

“When it comes to ovarian cancer, symptoms are often unclear making the diagnosis difficult. It begins in the tissues of the ovary and often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen. Therefore women need to educate themselves about the various risk factors associated with the disease. Being aware of the frequency and combination of certain symptoms can help with early diagnosis. If detected at a very early stage, ovarian cancers can usually be removed surgically and this can be potentially curative. But much needs to be done to encourage women to talk more openly about their gynecological worries.” added Dr. Hassan Jaafar, Consultant Oncologist, Department of Oncology, Tawam Hospital.

Until recently treatment options for ovarian cancer were limited to surgery and chemotherapy. However in 2011, the European Commission (EC) announced the approval of a biological therapy in combination with standard chemotherapy as initial treatment for advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer. This marked the first new effective treatment option for women with advanced ovarian cancer in 15 years.

“There is now significant medical advancement to address the unmet medical needs of women diagnosed with cervical or ovarian cancer. Patientscan receive improved treatment options recommended by doctors comprising of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgical intervention and biological therapies, which can potentially prolong survival. With proper awareness, timely detection and accurate treatment, the disease progression can be stopped and patients can recover.” said Slobodan Nedeljkovic, Medical Head for Roche Middle East Sub Regions.