Mafraq Hospital,owned and operated by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA), recently performed free medical screening for its employees, patients and visitors to continue their concerted efforts to promote disease prevention, awareness and education in the UAE. Participants were screened for breast cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in females in the UAE and so Mafraq Hospital has become a trusted centre for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Women were screened for breast cancer between February 18th and 21st, as part of the ‘Ana Rosa’ initiative that seeks to raise awareness and educate people on breast health. The four-day campaign launched the new Breast Imaging Centre of Excellence, led by Dr. RolaShaheen, Consultant Radiologist, Acting Chair of Radiologyand Chief of Women’s Imaging at Mafraq Hospital.
Participants over 40 years of age were evaluated by a screening nurse who provided clinical examination and brochures of educational material before they received a mammogram – a low dose x-ray of the breast compressed in two views for maximum evaluation of the tissue. One-hundred free screenings have been offered to employees and their families at Mafraq Hospital and so far 81 have participated. According to Dr. RolaShaheen, “Some of the patients were found to have suspicious results and were called back for further imaging and biopsies; however, we have only discovered early stage cancer so far. Increased awareness breaks barriers of fear and thus patients will come forward for screening, allowing for early detection of the disease, a higher chance of curing the disease and more lives saved.”
More recently, the campaign “For Healthy Bones and Joints” took place in the outpatient area, led by Dr. Mustafa Al-Maini, Deputy Medical Director, Consultant Rheumatologist, Allergist and Clinical Immunologist at Mafraq Hospital.On March 3rd and 4th all staff, patients and visitors were offered free screening to combat osteoporosis (weakening of bone tissue) and arthritis (inflammation around joints) in the community. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry(DEXA) scans were used to measure bone density for osteoporosis and musculoskeletal ultrasound was conducted for those suspected to have arthritis; 377 people participated and 15 require clinical follow-up
About half of all women over the age of 50 suffer a fractured hip, wrist or vertebra during their lifetime due to osteoporosis; it is the most common bone disease. Risk increases following menopause in women and also in older men due to decreased levels of sex hormones. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1% of the population and is still underdiagnosed in the UAE. Dr. Mustafa Al-Maini indicates that, “The campaign seeks to raise awareness of these diseases. Osteoporosis can be prevented early-on by using exercise and proper nutrition, rich in minerals, calcium and vegetables, to provide the body with vitamins D and K that are composites of bone tissue. Regarding rheumatic disease, the mean duration for patients to be referred to a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis is one to three years and seven to ten years for ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine); early detection can prevent deformity and quality of life.”
Both screening campaigns were successful in raising awareness and education that help to prevent disease. The campaigns also ledto the early detection ofthese diseases in some patients, which directly improves their prognoses.