Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. January 26, 2022:
Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care and a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, is marking Cervical Cancer Awareness Month this January by launching an awareness campaign on the disease and its prevention.
Using the theme “Take a stand. Get vaccinated. Get screened.” the campaign aims to encourage women to be proactive about their cancer HPV vaccination and screening, and educate the community about the importance of disease prevention.
During the month, SSMC will be hosting awareness activities, including utilizing its social media platforms to provide tips and suggested actions to further women’s’ wellness journeys. It will also be hosting series of virtual lectures in partnership with General Women’s Union, where members of the public can meet SSMC physicians, discuss questions or concerns regarding cervical cancer, and learn more about the risk factors, symptoms and treatments.
Dr. Muhieddine Seoud, Chairman and Consultant at SSMC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said: “Cervical cancer is a leading cause of death amongst women in the Middle East and North African region (MENA), and is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths globally, and yet mortality rates are predicted to increase even further as the years continue. However, an important fact to note is that cervical cancer is preventable, which is why Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is such an important occasion to highlight the imperatives of HPV vaccination, screening, and other preventative strategies.”
Cervical cancer occurs when there is a long-standing infection of certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) – a group of extremely common viruses – in the body. While there are over 150 types of HPV, only thirteen of those cause cancer. Early signs of cervical cancer include abnormal bleeding or abdominal pain and discomfort.
Dr. Rawia Mubarak, Consultant Anatomical Pathology at SSMC, said: “Cervical cancer is a disease that has a deeply personal impact on women but can certainly be prevented with proper screening. At SSMC, we offer comprehensive evaluation and advanced treatment for cervical cancer that affect women and young girls. We encourage women, especially women between the ages of 25 to 65 years of age, to undergo regular pap screening every three to five years, along with HPV testing if pap smear results come back as abnormal.”
Women and girls between the ages of 13 and 26 are also encouraged to take the HPV vaccine, which protects against cancer-causing HPV infections and reduces a woman’s risk of cervical cancer and precancerous growths. Per the World Health Organization directive, the HPV vaccines work best if administered prior to exposure to HPV.
“At SSMC, we take a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to cancer care, including cervical cancer. Our multidisciplinary teams of physicians in oncology, pathology, and gynecology are experts in diagnosing and treating cervical cancer and are highly skilled in screening, HPV vaccination, advanced surgery techniques, and chemotherapy administration. Cervical cancer can be cured if it is detected and diagnosed at an early stage and then treated promptly, so it is of extreme importance that preventive measures are taken seriously, and everyone is proactive about protecting their health.” Seoud concludes.