Easing the pain of cancer patients, a hospital in the Capital on Tuesday announced initiatives including free blood test, free transportation, creation of a social media platform to share inspiring stories and setting up of a new multi-specialty.
The Cancer Patient Care Society (Rahma) in association with NMC Healthcare organised the 'Year of Giving Forum for UAE Cancer Patients' at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research.
NMC Healthcare said patients need not come to the group's hospital for blood test as a medical team will visit them at home or workplace. Patients will be provided free car service to travel to the hospital from any point in the UAE. And a Facebook page - Beat Cancer - is created for patients to share their views and experiences.
NMC Healthcare founder BR Shetty said he will go all out to help patients and recollected losing his sister to cancer. Shetty also said a new multi-specialty with 'complete solution for cancer' is coming up at Khalifa City.
Stressing on timely diagnosis, he said: "I had seen my sister suffer in pain. So now I am doing everything to ease pain of patients. Whatever I earn from Abu Dhabi, I am giving back to the society."
He pointed out a success story in the family. "My wife's sister was a cancer patient. I treated her here and she is now perfect."
Dr Mohanad Diab, head of the medical oncology, said delay in diagnosis remains a worry.
"According to Seha (Abu Dhabi Health Services Company), there are 4,500 new cancer cases every year in the UAE. This means 12 cases per day. However, over the years, mortality rate is decreasing and the number of cancer survivors is rising. So we are winning this battle.
"Delayed diagnosis is the main problem. It may be the patient is diagnosed incorrectly, not referred for investigation; positive test result is not communicated effectively or not acted upon soon enough. All these points can lead to delays," said Dr Diab.
Rahma director-general Nora Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi said the centre works 24 hours to provide patients with all assistance they need. "This is our job. Our partners in medical field have made this possible."
AstraZeneca was the other supporting partner at the forum.
It's all about doctors' support
Shalini Bothello is an HR professional and develops agenda and strategies for her company. When diagnosed with breast cancer, she developed a new 'hi-tech GPS' agenda to fight it.
"It was on June 9, 2010, that I was told about cancer. I was shocked as it meant my days were numbered. My family surrounded me and I felt I was going to die any moment," Shalini said.
Her world had crumbled and she felt devastated but it was then that a colleague at her company found a way out of the problem.
"We all know about GPS. While driving, when you miss a turn, the GPS recalculates your plan and puts you back on track. And that is exactly what I did. But my GPS is a high-tech one: Gratitude, Positivity and Smile. This country promotes happiness and I made it my choice, too. If I chose to be sad, then my family and friends would be like that, too. But my happiness spread radiance around," she said.
Such an approach to life had its benefits. Going through chemotherapies and radiations, the Indian didn't take a single sick leave. "I used to go for Friday sessions and be back in office on Sunday."
"The GPS in me kept me going. I spread my wings like an eagle and flew over the storm. I didn't give up and went on to beat cancer."
For Dr Sharon Mendoza Dreisbach, assistant professor, Skyline University College, University City of Sharjah, her successful fight against cancer was a journey from one hospital to another and finally ended up at a facility which made her feel at home. Survivor stories are not always about defying odds and miracles but also about the support offered by doctors, she said.
"Surviving cancer is one of the most important aspects of my life. My story of survival is more about doctors helping me in my fight. It is a two-way process."
Sharon has been in the UAE for a decade now. It was in October 2015 that she felt some pain and rushed to a nearby hospital. "They did mammogram and breast ultrasound. I was told I had stage 3 breast cancer. I was lost when told to spend my 'remaining days' with my near ones in the Philippines."
"A hospital in Al Ain recommended two experts - Dr Mohanad Diab (HOD of medical oncology) and Dr Balaji Balasubramaniam (consultant surgical oncology) - both from NMC Hospital Abu Dhabi.
"I went there and felt at home. I had only my niece here and wanted someone to be with me during those days. The hospital made me feel like family. The doctors gave me strength. People like me need just such assuring words."
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